James Kennedy & Friends
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James Kennedy & Friends

Mount Vernon, Iowa, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1986 | INDIE | AFM

Mount Vernon, Iowa, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1986
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"What People Are Saying About James Kennedy & Friends"

What People are Saying About Heart Consort Music and James Kennedy & Friends

A very fine performance...Owner, Opus Cafe, Switzerland



Original, masterful, a welcome new voice in jazz...Owner, Korzo Theatre, Holland



The group played to a packed house and brought the audience to it’s feet with it’s unique blend of mainstream jazz, fusion, and what can only be called Midwestern jazz. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Kennedy in the future...Review of the North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland



We were very pleased with your group’s performance ... Festival Committee, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland



The group gave a fine performance which demonstrated the highest quality entertainment and talent. ...It was a memorable and enjoyable experience for all. Congratulations on very original music! Entertainment Director, Euro-disney Center, France



A true original in a market full of clichés...Ben Kettlewell, WOMR radio



A unique talent, a real midwestern gem! Jay Childs, Kansas Public Radio



James plays a variety of music that is alive and enjoyed by all... highly recommendable University of Iowa Fine Arts Council - various


"Reviews of Our CDs"

UNKNOWN: They say variety is the spice of life and Unknown is a savory mix of Americana, blues, Caribbean, folk, Latin, Middle Eastern and rock. This ten-track instrumental CD melds a diverse range of sights, sounds and styles in simple but tasteful production. The CD opens with "The Price We Pay", which could be a Santana song with its blistering blend of Latin percussion and effect heavy guitar grooves. It is followed by "Eye Of The Needle" a savory stew of Middle Eastern melody enhanced by Catherine Lawson's mesmerizing violin and spiked with striking rhythms. "Lona Corona" continues the trend of world flavors with its tangy, island feel contrasting "Joy's Piano Blues" a pensive, piano piece. The second half of the CD simmers with more world textures and American tones closing with '3AM' a tasty, exploratory track. Each song on Unknown is an unexpected surprise as James and his band serves up a variety of versatile interesting instrumentals. James Kennedy is a well respected, well rounded bassist, composer, guitarist, producer and vocalist. Unknown is James' latest release from Heart Consort Music an indie label based out of the Midwest, thus adding another fine menu item to his catalogue.
• Artist Info: [USA/IA 2008 - web] (2008 Review by Laura Turner Lynch for Kweevak.com)


Unknown: It's always a good sign when musical friends remain and work together. On the last 3 CDs by James Kennedy the musical company is the same, and we don't see this very often these days. The CDs are completely instrumental similar to the successful "fusionrock" era of Genesis and others. Besides composing, James Kennedy plays both 6 & 12 string guitars, electric and acoustic. The whole music gains wealth through the efforts of Matt Alles on bass and Catherine Lawson on violin. Joe Patterson plays professionally with drums and cymbals, but with the joy of a child who wants to try out all the rhythms. The piano adds an unusual color and texture to the whole. The music is insufficiently summarized as "Midwestern Contemporary Music" because the sound that James Kennedy and his group create is much more than this. There is a noticeable evolution, and in the last "Unknown" all these strengths are clearly displayed. In addition to jazzy influences, there is a clear link with world music. James Kennedy is at home in all musical genres. Previously, he was one of the big names on the Enja Record label in Munich, known for it's sweeping "soundscapes" or flim-music. James also played at the North Sea Jazz Festival and gets significant airplay on radio and TV in the US. James comes from the Heart of America, specifically Iowa, where his love for music grew in parallel with an openness to the world. With his preference for fusion, James mixes in Russian, Latin, Rag, Appalachian, Blues and Rock, eagerly absorbing them and blending all with his own "atmospheric" production.
From the first "The Price We Pay" with it's mosaic of drums, which recalls the open-air concerts of Yes in it's prime, until the last exchanges of 3AM, every track has something special that encourages you to turn up the volume. In "Eye of the Needle" James mixes sultry Arab elements with Dan Brawner's skillful hand-drumming. For "Lona Corona" sparkling Caribbean sounds stand out with the drums and the bluesy "Joy's Piano Blues" is a bit more muted. On "Stranger Days" Pianist/composer Allan Mallie creates snatches of chilly melancholy. "Noon Bayou" with those cheering violin sounds brings back the happy ending of a "feelgoodmovie". "Unknown" is an instrumental album recommended for those who appreciate multicultural variety.
Reviewed by “Rootstime” Magazine – Belgium - translated from Dutch

JAMES KENNEDY - TENT SHOW: An instrumental CD that's intriguing to say the least. Listening closely I detect a little Appalachian influence in some of the slower tracks and the to be expected rock influence in others. The slower songs meandering pacing hypnotically sucks you in to the music drawing your thoughts away like watching a palm tree sway in a tropical breeze. Whereas the faster paced songs reminded me of a snake charmer who's hand moves just fast enough to avoid the cobra's bite. The song "Russian Dance 1" oddly enough reminds me of a sound track from a slow moving silent movie, and I mean that in a good way. I'm generally not a fan of instrumentals, jazz being the exception, but this CD has emotion I was not expecting.

Reviewed by Mike Cavanaugh for AllAccess Magazine





JAMES KENNEDY - PATCHWORK: Kweevak has received several great CD's from the multi-talented James Kennedy and his band. Therefore, our expectations for his latest release PatchWork were high and we were not disappointed. James' eight instrumentals are a tapestry of diverse styles, tempos and tones. The music is a creative blend of genres ranging from Midwestern bluegrass to world. The CD has a good flow and mix of tracks that rock to slower more sensitive songs. Patchw - Various


Discography

26 CD releases in a variety of genres ranging from solo acoustic guitar to classic rock
2 recent cds were recorded live in studio   "Old School" and "25" and feature the current 4-piece group....
James Kennedy on 6/12 string guitars
Matt Alles on bass
Eric Madison on drums
Catherine Lawson on 5-string violin
the two live CDs showcase what the group sounds like in a live performance situation
http://www.jameskennedyguitar.com   has streaming examples of CDs
or http://www.soundcloud.com/heartconsortmusic has streaming of the two live CDs

Photos

Bio

Jazz, Rock, Blues, World, Folk, and more! James Kennedy & Friends perform in a duo, trio, or quartet, setting depending on each individual venue/audience/setting.
Examples: acoustic violin/guitar duo, rock trio, acoustic trio (violin+guitar+bass), electric quartet, etc. other combinations/ configurations available.
We can also do a mixture of styles in one show and/or tailor our style/styles to suit your venue and audience.
Our groups all are suitable and *appealing* to all ages, from 3 to 93.
Our groups have appeared with and/or opened for
Gary Burton
Tracy Chapman
Ray Charles
Eric Clapton
Kevin Mahogany
Reggie & Mardra Thomas
Bobby McFerrin
Liza Minnelli
The Yellowjackets
and many more...

Accomplishments include entries in the Grammy Awards for 15 years in a row, features in Downbeat magazine, JazzReview, O'Place Jazz, Great Music Sites.com, Kweevak "Editor's Choice" & "Readers' Survey" awards for 5 years in a row, and many other independent music industry awards and honors. Heart Consort Music is celebrating 30 years in business this year, and has twenty six CD releases. All of these releases have received national/international airplay and distribution. The group James Kennedy & Friends tours regularly in support of these releases both in the US and abroad.

James Kennedy on 6/12 string guitars, Matt Alles on bass, Eric Madison on drums,

Catherine Lawson on 5-string violin


Band Members