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The Clarence Penn Quartet LIVE at Cornelia Street Cafe!

May 24, 2014

pennGrowing up the second of three children in his native Detroit Michigan, Clarence Penn got his first drum set as a third grader, picking the drums as his instrument of choice rather by chance. “My neighbor played the drums,” remembers Penn. “And I would hear him practicing everyday when I came home from school.” Although Penn admits to not wanting to practice, he nevertheless continued taking drum lessons, eventually reaching a level of competence on the drums that afforded him the opportunity to spend his last year in high school at Michigan’s prestigious school of fine arts, Interlochen Arts Academy. There Penn toyed with the idea of pursuing a steady classical career, but was quickly drawn to the ultimately rigorous routine of a free-lance musician .

Upon graduation, Penn headed for the University of Miami, attracted by what he perceived to be a diverse program in jazz and classical percussion. But a little more than a year later, Penn transferred to Virginia Commonwealth at the suggestion of Wynton Marsalis whose father, Ellis was a faculty member. “I met Wynton in tenth grade,” Penn says. “He came to my high school and kind of became my mentor for the next few years. He would often advise me on what to do.”

He has gigged with a veritable who’s who of musical stars, including Betty Carter, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Jacky Terrasson, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gilespie, Dianne Reeves, Cyrus Chestnut, Stephen Scott, Steps Ahead, Mike Stern and Rachel Z. He is probably one of the most sought after drummers of his generation on the scene. You get to see him LIVE and in person TONIGHT at Cornelia Street Cafe!

See you at the show…

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