ERIC KENNEDY & FRIENDS
Todd Marcus, clarinet
Mark Meadows, piano
Max Murray, bass
Eric Kennedy, drums
Our jazz artist-in-residence presents a monthly session with esteemed musicians.
Tickets: $12/$10 students
Eric Kennedy, a Baltimore native, is a drummer, vocalist, percussionist, educator and composer. Eric's introduction to all styles of music and early music training was initiated by his musical relatives, who also cultivated his love of jazz. Before the age of five, Eric began his development as a percussionist and singer performing with a family/neighborhood band and singing in the Timothy Baptist church choir.
Eric attended the Baltimore City Gifted and Talented Exploratory (G.A.T.E.) Program at Harford Heights Elementary School, where he began formal study of music and art. As a student of the GATE Program, he also co-composed, arranged and performed music for an award winning student short film. Eric continued his arts education at the Baltimore School for the Arts studying classical percussion and voice with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra percussionist John Locke, Donna Di Stefano and the late Dr. Nathan Carter. He later transferred to the Music Careers Programs at Frederick Douglass Sr. High School directed by Ms. Jewel Churn and received extra-curricular instruction from legendary Baltimore drummers Johnny Polite and "Peanut" Saunderlin. After high school, Eric moved to Philadelphia to work with the world music ensemble Our Time Is Now and continue his personal study in ethnomusicology. In Philadelphia, Eric came under the tutelage of Sun Ra and received private instruction from legendary drummer Edgar Bateman.
In 1990, Eric and Our Time Is Now moved to Holland to perform and travel across Europe and record their debut recording, The Pursuit of Happyness. Two years later, he found himself in French Guiana, playing with the Victor Sabas Trio and studying the rhythms of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. During this period, Eric discovered a passion for composition and began writing in myriad styles which reflected his diverse experiences. His current catalog of compositions boasts approximately 500 compositions and sketches of multifarious cultural influences and rhythm styles.
Upon his return to Baltimore, Eric's career began to blossom. As a freelance drummer he played with Mack Rucks, Moments Notice, the Eubie Blake Sextet and Big Band, Craig Alston, Ruby Glover, Gary Richardson, the Al Maniscalco Quartet, the Steve Carrington Quartet and the Kelly Shepherd Quartet, and co-founded the jazz ensemble Dreamworld. He studied voice with Odell Wilson and Timmy Shepherd, drums with Leroy Williams, fundamental technique with Jamal Wilson, brushes with renowned master Clayton Cameron and attended the jazz workshops of legendary teacher/musician Barry Harris. In the years to follow, Eric played, toured and/or recorded with, among others, Curtis Fuller, Phil Woods, Curtis Lundy, Joe Bonner, Larry Willis, Eddie Gale, Carl Grubbs (2009 Baker Artist Award Winner), John Hicks, Gary Bartz, TK Blue, Richard Wyands, Virgil Jones, Eddie Henderson, Bunky Green, Ronnie Mathews, Yusef Salim, Nnena Freelon, Xavier Davis, Orrin Evans, Charles Davis, Reggie Workman, Keter Betts, Valery Ponomarev, Gary Thomas, Shodekeh, Herman Burney and Cecil McBee. As a vocalist, Eric was runner up in the 2004 Billie Holiday Vocal Competition and showcased at Artscape 2010.
Eric broadened as an entertainer as well. He trained with Quest for Arts, a Maryland based not-for-profit organization whose educational work focuses on the use of visual theatre to enhance literacy. As Quest's inclusive membership represents a diverse ethnic, cultural, and artistic panorama, Eric accompanied a Deaf dance ensemble led by renowned Deaf choreographer Yola Roznek. He also composed and accompanied the multimedia ensemble piece, I Carry the Flag, performed at Gallaudet University, Towson University and the Baltimore Creative Alliance for a primarily Deaf audience. Eric's theater credits include a 25th anniversary tour with the cast of the Broadway musical revue Ain't Misbehavin' in 2003, a tribute to Billie Holiday "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" in 2006, Anunsi the Spider with the Sankofa Dance Ensemble, The Women of Brewster's Place and Nnenna Freelon and the Evidence Dance Company's " The Blueprint of a Lady" at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem in 2007. His film credits include a composition featured in the independent film "The Big Muddy".
Jazz pianist Mark Meadows was born on March 27, 1989 in Washington, D.C. Three years later, his dad, a part time journeyman gospel and jazz vocalist, bought him a little Casio keyboard and invited Mark to “have at it”.By the time Mark was four, he had attended more than ten jazz concerts and performances, including one sitting directly adjacent to the high end of the piano featuring Shirley Horn at the “One Step Down” in D.C. Mark also experienced his dad’s jazz and gospel vocal performances at the ripe age of 4.At the age of five Mark’s family moved to Dallas TX where he studied classical piano under the stern but loving eye of Dr. Rosalie LeVant, a renowned Russian born and highly regarded classical pianist. Years later, Julie Bonk, a respected Dallas jazz pianist and teacher of Grammy Award-winning artist Norah Jones, took the 13-year-old under her wing after hearing him play Debussy’s “Clair De Lune.”Throughout Mark’s high school years, he performed with the BTW Jazz Combo 1 and BTW MIDI Ensemble. After perfecting his skills at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Mark began to display his gifts and talents to the public. Some of Mark’s accolades include his being featured on “Good Morning Texas” on WFAA Channel 8 (2008) and awarded “Best Pop Rock Solo in North America” by Downbeat Magazine (2008). He has performed at the Kennedy Center with the Peabody Jazz Lab Band (2008) and released his first album “A Child is Born” (2008), which was named “2nd Best Pop Rock Composition in North America” by Downbeat Magazine.Mark taught piano on Saturdays and was the resident pianist at North East Bible Church before graduating in the top 5% of his class from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in Dallas, TX.
Currently, Mark is a double degree senior at Johns Hopkins University. He studies psychology at Hopkins and jazz piano under Tim Murphy at The Peabody Conservatory. Mark is the Music Director of Faith Christian Fellowship Church, Baltimore, MD and works at Sheppard Pratt Mental Health Center as a mental health worker. Mark Meadows continues to push himself to new heights, hoping one day to become a successful psychologist and musician, reaching the world through his spirit, his mind, and his music.For further information see www.markgmeadows.com.
Bass clarinetist and composer Todd Marcus is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus exclusively on use of the bass clarinet as a primary soloing instrument.
Jazz Times contributing journalist David Adler writes, “With his melodic imagination and technical aptitude on an unorthodox horn, Marcus has something truly new and personal to offer.” He actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quartet, Trio, and Duo as well as his nonet, The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra, which features his compositions and arrangements for six horns, piano, bass, and drums.
Self taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus’ compositions draw largely on straight-ahead jazz and classical influences but over recent years have also increasingly explored the Middle-Eastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage. His work includes international performances, clinics, and radio play and he has worked with other jazz artists such as Bennie Maupin, Don Byron, Larry Willis, Odean Pope, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, George Colligan, Orrin Evans, Joel Frahm, Xavier Davis, Mike Formanek, and Gary Thomas. Marcus was also a featured guest at the 1st World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland where his work was recognized for both his compositions and unique solo voice.
Marcus balances his music career by running Newborn Holistic Ministries, a nonprofit addressing poverty related issues in his Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood. The organization runs an art program providing children and adults with alternatives to drugs and violence in the community, a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction and homelessness, and has achieved significant community revitalization by renovating abandoned buildings and vacant lots.