S2 E38 LAURIE KENNEDY: In-Demand Jazz Drummer and Drum Teacher, who has worked in Television, Radio, Musical Theatre, Cabaret, Jazz, Rock, and Orchestral in Australia.


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The Engine Room Guest: Laurie Kennedy, has been mentioned in many of my previous interviews due to him having been an in-demand drum teacher and player in South Australia for 40 years. His playing career began in NSW when families gathered together and listened to music shows, drama serials, light entertainment and quiz programs on the radio, Rock 'n' roll was popular in dance halls, and Jazz and Coffee Lounges were The Scene! He has worked with the 'who's who' of the entertainment industry, working in Television, Radio, Musical Theatre, Cabaret, Jazz, Rock, and Orchestral. He has had a truly remarkable musical journey and it was an honour to have him share his story with me. If you enjoy historical stories about the Australian Music Industry, then this episode is definitely for you!

The first professional band that he joined was the 'Warren LeRoy Trio', playing at the El Rocco followed by the 'Macambo Quartet' who were very popular at the Macambo Coffee Lounge, where they had a stint of around 4 years during the early 1960s.

Late in 1965 he joined his one and only Pop Group called The Grape Escape with Brian Godden, Chris Bonett, and singer/songwriter Norma Stoneman. The Grape Escape signed to RCA Records and released a couple of singles with ''The Easy Life'' (Feb 25th 1967) being the most successful, he returned to NSW when the band called it a day.

Laurie worked as a studio drummer at TCN-9 on the Desmond Tester Children's Television show the 'Channel 9- Pins', prior to moving to Adelaide in 1968. In Adelaide he played with the Borodin Quartet at the Paprika Nightclub for 5 years, the band worked 6 nights a week, 7 hours a night! His first teaching job was at Pulteney Grammar School, followed by Blackfriars Priory School, and St Peter's College. In addition, Laurie was an in-demand lecturer in drum, percussion, and rhythm at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide for 32 years, and lecturer at Noarlunga TAFE for 10 years. He wrote ‘A Guide to Exploring Rhythm - All Instruments and Voice’, among other teaching materials. Laurie lived, played and taught in Adelaide for half his lifetime, returning to live in NSW to be closer to his sons when he retired.

He has accompanied international Jazz and Variety Artists, did many concerts tours and recordings with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, as well as concerts with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Recorded with Don Burroughs, James Morrison, George Golla, Errol Buddle, Ted Nettelbeck, Schmoe (Sylvan Elhay), Andy Sugg, and many others. Backing for local variety acts such as Barry Crocker, Julie Anthony, Ricky May, Glenn Shorrock, Kamal, Judith Durham, and many more. International variety artists include Harry Secombe, Platters, Eartha Kitt, Dick Emery, Cilla Black, Ronnie Corbett, Danny La Rue, and so many more that It is impossible for me to list them all.

Music: Intro "Band It About" theme written and recorded by Catherine Lambert and Michael Bryant.

Outro: "Sol Fuego" - Australian Jazz Quintet, Errol Buddle - flute, Bruce Hancock - piano, Ed Gaston - bass and Laurie Kennedy - drums. Recorded at Adelaide Town Hall.

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