Affectionately known as the “Jazz Maniac,” Brooklyn (New York) native and long-time Canopus artist (since 2010), Kenny Washington has been renowned as one of the most enlightened and proficient performers and teachers of the art of jazz drumming for quite some time. Arriving on the scene in 1977, Washington has been in constant demand and has performed and recorded with many legendary artists including Lee Konitz, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, George Cables, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Stitt, James Spaulding, Phil Woods, Bill Charlap, Ahmad Jamal, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Milt Jackson, Bobby Watson, Curtis Lundy, and, Tommy Flanagan, to name a few.
In terms of his teaching acumen, Washington has taught at Juilliard, SUNY Purchase and NYU. He continues to share his wealth of knowledge with hundreds of students each year. In fact, just last year (2019) Washington held a teaching residency at Michigan State University that brought students a unique opportunity to watch and learn from the icon up close and personal.
Washington’s impressive discography, which includes dozens of sessions with some of the most prominent artists in the jazz genre, has added to his iconic status. Moreover, Washington has established himself as a jazz aficionado and as such has written liner notes and worked on classic re-releases for such legendary artists as Art Blakey, Max Roach and Count Basie, just to name a few. Washington even served as a disc jockey at WBGO as well as being program director for “Pure Jazz” and “Swing Street” on Sirius Radio. In 2002 Washington also earned the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland award for excellence in jazz broadcasting from the Jazz Journalists Association.
Washington also studied with the former Dizzy Gillespie drummer Rudy Collins as well as Justin DiCioccio while at New York’s LaGuardia High School for Music & Art (he graduated in 1976). Washington studied and has been influenced by great percussionists through the history of jazz such as Jo Jones, Shadow Wilson, Big Sid Catlett, Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Osie Johnson as well as Tony Williams and many others.