Program Books/Clarence Penn
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Clarence Penn


The charismatic and dynamic Clarence Penn is one of the busiest jazz drummers in the world, a leader of multiple bands, a composer, a prolific producer, and an educator. Penn currently leads several ensembles and is a member of the American Patchwork Quartet. His most recent “rhythmically intoxicating” recording is 2014’s Monk: The Lost Files on Origin Records. Since 1991, when he arrived in New York City, Penn has placed his unique blend of mega-chops, keen intellect, and heady musicianship at the service of a staggering array of A-list artists—a chronological short-list including Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Stanley Clarke, Steps Ahead, Makoto Ozone, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, Richard Galliano, and Fourplay. Penn’s impressive discography includes several hundred studio albums (including the Grammy-winning recordings 34th and Lex by Randy Brecker and Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue by Maria Schneider). He recently joined the University of Central Florida Department of Music as an assistant professor of jazz percussion, having previously taught with the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, the Stanford Jazz Work­shop, the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Italy, and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Intensive Jazz Institute. Penn has performed at MJF three times since 2013.