Rodney Kendrick

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Rodney Kendrick
Born (1960-04-30) April 30, 1960 (age 58)
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Pianist, Composer, Bandleader, Producer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1978–present
Labels Verve, Polygram, Polydor
Associated acts Rhonda Ross

Rodney Kendrick (born April 30, 1960) is an American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and producer. He has been described as a "hard swinging player and composer with a delightful Monkish wit and drive."[1]

Early life[edit]

Rodney Kendrick was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Miami, Florida, where his parents moved soon after his birth. Kendrick grew up in a musical, and Pentecostal church-going family. His father is James “Jimmy Kay” Kendrick, a pianist who worked with saxophonist Illinois Jacquet for seven years, played with saxophonist Sonny Stitt and Sam Rivers. His mother is a gospel singer named Juet.

Early career: 1970s and 1980s[edit]

When Kendrick was eighteen, he turned professional, touring and playing keyboards with R&B and funk acts. He traveled internationally with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, James Brown and George Clinton.

At twenty-one, Kendrick began a primary focus on jazz, moving to New York City in 1981. He played keyboards for artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Terence Blanchard, Stanley Turrentine, Clark Terry, J. J. Johnson, and others. He studied with pianist Barry Harris, who remained his teacher and mentor for over 20 years. Kendrick cites Randy Weston and Sun Ra as influences.[2] In the early 1990s he served as Abbey Lincoln’s musical leader for seven years.

Career in the 1990s and 2000s[edit]

In 1994, Kendrick signed a contract with Verve Records, who issued his debut, The Secrets of Rodney Kendrick, and a year later the follow-up, Dance World Dance (1995), recording showcases Kendrick's arranging skills as well as his compositions. Both these albums features a range of musicians, from the smooth soul jazz saxophonist Houston Person to post-bop cornetist Graham Haynes, and alto-saxophonist Arthur Blythe, and South African tenorist Bheki Mseleku among its guests.

His next album We Don't Die, We Multiply (1997), composed primarily of Kendrick's compositions. One composition, "Led Astray", is by his wife Rhonda. On several tracks, Dewey Redman played saxophone.

Rodney has produced several albums, including a solo piece titled Thank You (2002), a duo-piano piece with his mentor Randy Weston, an album with his wife titled Rhonda Ross Live: Featuring Rodney Kendrick (2002), as well as a project with his father, Jimmy Kay, entitled Black is Back (2006).

Personal life[edit]

Kendrick has been married to Rhonda Ross Kendrick since September 13, 1996. On August 7, 2009, their son, Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick was born.[3]


Year Title Genre Label
1994 The Secrets of Rodney Kendrick Jazz Verve
1995 Dance, World, Dance Jazz Verve
1996 Last Chance for Common Sense Jazz Polygram
1997 Bop w/Frank Morgan & The Rodney Kendrick Trio Jazz Telarc
1997 We Don't Die, We Multiply Jazz Polygram
1998 No Dress Code Jazz Polydor (France)
2004 Thank You Jazz Rodney Kendrick


  1. ^ Baker, Theodore. A Biographical Dictionary Of Musicians, Schirmer Books, page 1851 (2001) - ISBN 0-02-865527-3
  2. ^ Carr, Ian. The Rough Guide to Jazz 2, Rough Guides, page 29, (2000) - ISBN 1-85828-528-3
  3. ^ :am (2009-08-07). "Black Celebrity Kids,babies,and their Parents » RHONDA ROSS OPENS UP ABOUT BEING A NEW MOM". Blackcelebkids.Com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 

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