Keenan McKenzie is a rising star in North Carolina’s eclectic music scene. He has experience playing with symphonies, musicals, old time, Celtic, soul, and other styles. He also plays saxophone and clarinet for numerous jazz ensembles and has traveled as far as Parma, Italy to perform. He composes original songs and arrangements for numerous organizations and for groups as large as 18 pieces.
McKenzie refers to Forged in Rhythm, his first album of original jazz material under his own name, as “a love letter to the swing dance scene.” The letter is well received. This is the high flying sound of the period and dancers could easily use this album as they rehearse their moves.
McKenzie composed and arranged 15 new titles for this album. He sticks to reeds while for vocals the album is graced with the charming voice of Laura Windley. The clever lyrics fit the ’30s and ’40s period he is trying to capture. He is joined in the band by some recognizable names including Gordon Au of the Au Brothers on trumpet and guitarist Jonathan Stout who brings a wealth of experience playing for dancers.
Entertaining throughout, this is a top-notch production with a little for everyone and a mass appeal. Still early in what promises to be a prolific career, Keenan McKenzie should soon be hearing the major record labels knocking on his door for work as a personality, a behind the scenes man, or both.