Kip Hanrahan

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Kip Hanrahan
Born (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 66)
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 1970's 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 Don Pullen and Steve Swallow, Latin jazz players such as Milton Cardona and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and occasionally rock musicians like Sting, Jack Bruce, Grayson Hugh, and Fernando Saunders.

He produced a number of significant recordings by the nuevo tango master Ástor 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. These side projects were not the only poetry-based discs: Darn It from 1994 celebrates the work of Paul Haines.[5]

After releasing Desire Develops an Edge, he formed the band Conjure, working with server artists to put music to the poetry of Ishmael Reed.[4]


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.

External links[edit]