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Kip Hanrahan

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Kip Hanrahan
Born (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 69)
Bronx, New York City
GenresAfro-Cuban music, Latin jazz, funk, rock, blues, avant-garde jazz, downtown music
Record producer
LabelsAmerican Clavé

Kip Hanrahan (born December 9, 1954) is an American jazz music impresario, record producer and percussionist.

Personal life[edit]

Hanrahan was born in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the Bronx to an Irish-Jewish family.[1] His father left when he was 6 months old, leaving his mother and grandfather to raise him. He has described his grandfather as "this cynical Russian communist" whose approval of rebellion against authority he cites as among his early musical influences.[2]

While attending Cooper Union on a scholarship, he studied with visual-conceptual artist Hans Haacke. He has cited Haacke as his strongest influence. As part of his university study, he traveled to North Africa, and lived in India for a year.[3]

In the 1970s he moved to Paris, France to work on films with Michel Contat [fr], Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean-Luc Godard. In his work as a composer, bandleader, and producer, he has compared his role to that of a film director, saying "Making a record is like making a film. If anything, the analogy holds too true. The recording engineer becomes the cinematographer; I work with the musicians as I would with actors: You sing the lines the way they should be phrased; you shoot scenes and the scenes are not in sequential order, and every scene has a different light and sound."[3]


He has an unusual role in the albums released under his name, one which he has analogized to that of a film director. He assembles players and materials, combining modern/avant-garde/free jazz figures like David Murray, Don Pullen and Steve Swallow, Latin jazz players such as Milton Cardona and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and occasionally rock musicians like Sting, Grayson Hugh, Fernando Saunders, and Jack Bruce.

He produced a number of significant recordings by the nuevo tango master Astor Piazzolla in the last decade of Piazzolla's life,[4] as well as recordings by Latin music figures including Jerry Gonzalez. Hanrahan also worked with the poet Ishmael Reed on three recordings with the Conjure Ensemble, featuring Taj Mahal on the first release.[4] The Conjure projects were not the only poetry-based albums. Darn It, a double CD released in 1993, gathered music to the poems of Paul Haines[5] that Hanrahan had compiled over the past seven years since 1986, with contributions by a wide-ranging group of session musicians like Derek Bailey singing, duos by Evan Parker with Robert Wyatt and Carmen Lundy, Alex Chilton with a piano trio around Wayne Horvitz, Mary Margaret O'Hara with Gary Lucas and Steve Swallow, and John Oswald playing alto saxophone alongside fellow Canadian and multimedia artist Michael Snow, who also provided the cover and booklet design.[6]


All albums were released on Hanrahan's American Clavé label.

With Conjure

  • Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed (1985)
  • Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon (1988)
  • Bad Mouth (2006)


  1. ^ American Clavé Bio
  2. ^ Zwerin, Mike (August 9, 1991). "The 'Outsider' With a Passion for Sound (Published 1991)". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gonzalez, Fernando (October 29, 1989). "Kip Hanrahan's Background: Everything But Music". The Boston Globe. p. 205. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Weiss, Jason (November 6, 1994). "A Producer Who Courts Uncertainty (Published 1994)". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  5. ^ "Kip Hanrahan: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  6. ^ Album credits.

External links[edit]