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John Kennelly lives in Toronto, Ontario and specializes in playing jazz guitar, although he is fluent in most types of music. He has been playing guitar since he was ten years old. He was once told by the bebop master PJ Perry that he sounds great and that it was an honour for him to play with John. Over the past eleven years, he has realized that music is his life and he will pursue it for as long as he lives. His dream is to make a living touring and writing music with his quartet which consists of John on guitar, an upright bassist, a drummer and a tenor saxophone player.
Right now, he is fine tuning his composing skills with the quartet that he leads(John Kennelly Quartet) and is putting the finishing touches on the compositions of new music that will be recorded soon. The quartet is preparing to record no later than December 2013. A CD of all original music that they record will be released by the summer of 2014. The CD will be recorded in the multi-million dollar Humber Recording Studio. The music that they perform is similar to the groundbreaking work of the Steve Lehman group, as well as the influential Miles Okazaki quartet. The way that John’s music is similar to these groups is that they both focus on the rhythmic aspect of music as much as the harmonic aspect, composing songs with difficult claves and figures, while having strong melodic ideas. The music is also inspired by the Canadian jazz legends that John has been fortunate enough to study with over the past four years. These artists include Juno award winner Kirk MacDonald, guitarists Geoff Young and David Occhipinti, and legend Pat Labarbera. While talking about a recent John Kennelly Quartet show, legendary Canadian pianist Gord Sheard said this, “This was an excellent performance. The repertoire was challenging both for the musicians and the audience, but was always interesting.”
This group started in early 2011 and have been playing together ever since. The musicians that are in the quartet are Hayden Farrar on bass, Ian Wright on drums and Christopher Rennie on tenor saxophone. These musicians are highly respected and sought after in the Toronto music scene. John has made it his goal to comprise his group with the best musicians in the city. They have a performance coming up in the Humber Auditorium in February 2013, and they all constantly have several separate performances around Toronto that they are involved in. The goal with this group is to constantly be making new music that is inspired by all of our heroes/mentors, while trying to be innovative. They plan on gigging around Toronto and eventually branching out around Ontario and eventually, New York. The plan for the band in the next 5 years is to move their band to the New York area and play shows and do clinics.
Johns goal as a musician is to inspire people and change lives with his music. He is confident that if he stick with what he is doing, he will have no problem succeeding with these goals.