Louis Cennamo

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Louis David Cennamo
Born (1946-03-05) 5 March 1946 (age 73)
London, England
GenresRock, blues, blues rock, rock and roll, psychedelic rock, hard rock, Progressive Rock
InstrumentsBass, bowed bass, guitar
Years active1962-present
LabelsPye Records, Parlophone Records, Elektra Records, Island Records, A&M Records
Associated actsRod Stewart, Jimmy Powell, The Herd, Peter Frampton, James Taylor, Renaissance, Colosseum, Steamhammer, Armageddon, Illusion

Louis David Cennamo is a prominent English bass guitarist, whose lengthy career has included extensive recording and touring with a number of important British rock/blues/progressive bands.[1]


Cennamo left school at 16 and undertook his earliest important musical project (1962–65) as a founding member of the popular London-based blues/rock band, Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions.[2] They signed a recording deal with Pye Records and released "That's Alright" (written by Powell) as a single in June 1964,[3] and were also hired to provide backing for Jamaican singer Millie Small on her recording of "My Boy Lollipop" (which was a #2 hit in both the UK and the US, selling upwards of 6 million copies).[4][5] In June 1964, The 5 Dimensions appeared on the bill at the All Night Rave at the Alexandra Palace with headlining act The Rolling Stones (as well as Alexis Korner, John Lee Hooker and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers),[6] and they further galvanized their place in rock and roll history with performances on Granada TV (with Sonny Boy Williamson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe), Ready Steady Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars.[7] In 1965, the band was asked to back up Chuck Berry on both his Chuck Berry in London LP[8] and on his three-week tour of England.[9]

Upon leaving the band, Cennamo spent late 1965 to late 1966 as bass guitarist for The Herd.[10] Cennamo's sole released recording with the band was a cover of a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards song, "So Much In Love" (b/w "This Boy's Always Been True") on the Parlophone Records label.[11] Upon leaving The Herd, Cennamo played briefly with Tim Hinkley, Viv Prince and Mike Patto in the group Patto's People (nee Chicago Blue Line) - recording and releasing one single, "Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop" / "Jump Back", in late 1966.[12]

During the late 1960s, Cennamo also played bass on several recording sessions. Some well documented projects included James Taylor's 1968 self-titled LP and Al Stewart's Zero She Flies.[13]

In 1969, Cennamo co-founded the original lineup of the classically-influenced Renaissance.[14] Cennamo played a key role in working up the band's classically-influenced song arrangements,[15] and one highlight of Renaissance live performances through this era was his use of the violin bow on his bass during the final song of their set, "Bullet" (he would continue to use the violin bow on his bass with later bands, on certain numbers).[16] This incarnation of the band recorded two LPs, but a busy touring schedule began to wear on members of the band, and they decided to go their separate ways in the spring of 1970.[17] Cennamo then began recording and performing with British jazz rock band Colosseum. It was during Cennamo's involvement that Colosseum recorded Daughter of Time (1970).[18]

Cennamo was then recruited by progressive/blues/rock band Steamhammer (1970–72). The band subsequently toured Europe extensively, and recorded the experimental Speech in 1971.[19]

After Steamhammer folded in 1973, Cenammo co-founded Armageddon (1974–75) with American drummer Bobby Caldwell, Steamhammer guitarist Martin Pugh, and "Speech" co-producer (and former Renaissance bandmate) Keith Relf. The band was based in California, but recorded their debut album, Armageddon, at Olympic Studios in London.[20] It was released on A&M Records in the late spring of 1975.[21] Relf's death (by electrocution) in May 1976 effectively ended the band.[22]

Back in England after Armageddon's dissolution, Cennamo then co-founded Illusion with the members of the original Renaissance (minus the late Keith Relf), remaining with the band for two albums (from 1977–79).[23]

1980s and beyond[edit]

Upon the folding of Illusion in 1979, Cennamo began to spend less time on music, and more on his "spiritual development" (although he did release a limited edition solo cassette titled Diamond Harbor in 1982).[24]

Between 1986 and 1995, Cennamo was involved with a part-time music project called Stairway (which featured Cennamo playing guitar), with his colleague from Renaissance and Illusion, Jim McCarty. Additional Stairway participants included psychotherapist Malcolm Stern, Clifford White[25] on keyboards and Jane Relf (their former Renaissance and Illusion bandmate) contributed some vocals.[26] A primarily instrumental project, the intentions of McCarty and Cennamo were to release music of a "healing" and "meditative" nature,[27] and total of four full-length tapes and CDs had been released by Stairway on the New World Music label, and one on the Canada-based Oasis Productions label.[28]

In 2001, the four surviving members of the original Renaissance and Illusion issued the album Through the Fire under the band name Renaissance Illusion.[29] The CD continued the keyboard-driven melodic musical style of their previous Illusion records, and opened with Cennamo's bass-led introduction to "One More Turn of the Wheel".[30]

On 3 April 2014 he performed a one-off gig at the Eel Pie Club in Twickenham with Jim McCarty's band Flip Side, which included songs from the first two Illusion albums, as well as the Renaissance Illusion Through the Fire CD.[31]

Writing career[edit]

According to Cennamo's Facebook page, in recent years he has been writing poetry and short stories, and has had several published (and more to come) in 2016.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.discogs.com/artist/445542-Louis-Cennamo | Louis Cennamo on Discogs
  2. ^ https://www.discogs.com/artist/1282281-Jimmy-Powell-And-The-5-Dimensions | Jimmy Powell And The 5 Dimensions
  3. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/7n15663
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/millie-small-mn0000489606/biography
  5. ^ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5305
  6. ^ http://flashbak.com/the-rolling-stones-all-night-rave-alexandra-palace-6th-june-1964-364431/
  7. ^ https://www.skidmore.edu/~gthompso/britrock/60brchro/60brch64.html
  8. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Chuck-Berry-Chuck-Berry-In-London/release/6546470
  9. ^ http://brunoceriotti.weebly.com/jimmy-powell-and-the-five-dimensions.html
  10. ^ Carol Hynson. "The Official Mick Underwood website - biography of the UK rock drummer". Mickunderwood.com. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  11. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/r5413
  12. ^ http://www.oocities.org/sunsetstrip/diner/2674/lcenn_bio.htm.tmp
  13. ^ http://www.artistdirect.com/artist/credits/louis-cennamo/413338
  14. ^ http://www.richieunterberger.com/renaissance.html | Formation of Renaissance
  15. ^ http://strawberrybricks.com/guide/releases/renaissance
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/louis-cennamo-mn0000996472
  17. ^ http://www.backgroundmagazine.nl/CDreviews/RenaissanceIdemIllusion.html
  18. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/daughter-of-time-mw0000614532
  19. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/speech-mw0000468056
  20. ^ http://www.alexgitlin.com/npp/armauk.htm
  21. ^ http://www.elevenwarriors.com/forum/anything-else/2016/05/71063/armageddon-a-lost-classic-released-may-1975-timh
  22. ^ http://ultimateclassicrock.com/yardbirds-keith-relf-death/
  23. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/illusion-mn0000072592
  24. ^ http://www.expose.org/index.php/articles/display/from-renaissance-to-illusion-a-profile-of-the-relf-mccarty-renaissance.html
  25. ^ http://www.newworldmusic.us/clifford-white
  26. ^ https://newworldmusic.com/uk/author/stairway/
  27. ^ http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mccartycennamo
  28. ^ https://www.discogs.com/artist/1498380-Stairway-2
  29. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Through-Fire-Renaissance-Illusion/dp/B000063T2R
  30. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/renaissance-illusion-through-the-fire-mw0000455130
  31. ^ http://www.jamesmccarty.com/event/jimmccarty-the-flip-side/
  32. ^ https://issuu.com/talesmagazine/docs/first_tales_issue_curious/124?e=19521251/32970174
  33. ^ https://issuu.com/talesmagazine/docs/tales_magazine_issue_4_all_hallows_

External links[edit]