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This profile was last updated on 2/1/09  and contains information from public web pages.


Phone: (734) ***-****  HQ Phone
712 East Ann St.
Ann Arbor , Michigan 48104
United States


Employment History

  • President
    Societe of the Culturally Concerned
  • Pianist
41 Total References
Web References
SEMJA Update - February 2009, 1 Feb 2009 [cached]
ianist/composer/arranger Kenny Cox died December 19, 2008, after a battle against lung cancer. Born in Detroit on November 8, 1940, Cox was a product of Cass Tech, Wayne State University (business major), and various Detroit music schools. He studied trumpet in his teens - visions of Clifford Brown danced in his head - but his mother insisted that he learn piano, too. So Kenn studied piano, and became proficient enough to gig on both instruments. After a couple of years most of the calls were for piano, so he reluctantly put the trumpet aside. Decades later, he'd sometimes refer to himself as a "failed trumpeter!"
Kenny Cox Cox loved music of all types and descriptions, but during the early sixties he was influenced by Miles and Coltrane both in his playing and composing - his material has been recorded by many bands.
One early band featuring Cox was the Bohannon-Fields Quintet, a Coltrane-influenced group that recorded under drummer Bert Myrick's name. Their tenor/trombone front line created an interesting blend. Members of the Jazz Crusaders were in Detroit frequently at the time (1962) and listened attentively to Bohannon-Fields. The Crusaders later recorded two of Cox's compositions.
Cox also worked frequently with percussionist Francisco Ali Mora in a Latin flavored quintet which really cooked.
Cox was politically active, and dubbed himself a "Cultural Warrior" who pushed for recognition of many forgotten Detroit music legends. His widow, Barbara, was president of the Societe of the Culturally Concerned, a group which most recently honored pioneer ragtime composer/pianist Harry P. Guy.
I met Cox some thirty-six years ago when I began working at WDET-FM. He hosted "Kaleidephone" on Saturday afternoons. I was a neophyte jazz host, and Cox offered many useful and practical tips on producing/hosting jazz radio programs. He was the first Detroit musician who "let me in," accepted me as a friend. Our friendship was my entree into the jazz scene. I spent many Saturdays in his company and our relationship went from colleagues to friends.
Lately, Cox could be heard at Baker's semi-regularly in a trio setting. He loved show tunes, and these would pour forth from the piano balanced by a healthy dose of Ellington and other American and Latin composers.
Stylistically, Cox exemplified the Detroit piano tradition: a lyrical approach infused with the blues. And make no mistake about it, he was a blues master.
Cox spent most of his life in Detroit, performing, teaching, observing. Barbara, his wife of forty-two years, loved his playing and loved him. Cox was eloquent and witty, a man with many thoughts and opinions whose words were as clear, crisp and lyrical as his pianoflage; he was a Griot, a Music Master. He was a humanitarian, an "American-African," who viewed people as individuals not as part of a group. One is reminded of the saying, "A city's reputation is established by those musicians who leave, but sustained by those who stay". We are fortunate to have had the wonderful Mr. Cox with us for so long.
SEMJA Update - January 2008, 1 Jan 2008 [cached]
At a time when the music scene was waning, Cox and his Contemporary Jazz Quintet, gave it an artistic boost, and brought it into an arena where funk, and eventually disco, ruled the roost in the black community. What CJQ did was not necessarily a foreshadow of that era, for the music was already starting to turn in a more R&B-flavored direction, with the establishing of jazz-rock fusion and consequently the over-produced CTI sound to follow.
Instead Cox and his band took the sound of the mid-60s acoustic Miles Davis and electric Bitches Brew period to follow, transforming it into their own personal vehicle with the unique musical voices of the band members that signified it as a purely Detroit thing.
2008 SEMJA Award To Kenny Cox
SEMJA's Ron Brooks Award will this year go to Kenny Cox, a Detroit pianist and educator of long standing. We will celebrate the award at Baker's Keyboard Lounge on Sunday, March 16, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. with music by the Kenn Cox Trio, food, and more.
An extensive article on Cox's career will appear in upcoming issues.
In a later configuration, CJQ would become more electric and beat driven, as it changed with the times. But in their initial form, Cox and this quintet made original music that was on the brink of maverick and revolutionary.
Start/stop speed-ups and slow-downs identify Moore's "Snuck In" with a technique established and perfected by Charles Mingus, followed by Cox's "Sojourn," another memorable composition that needs to be revisited by interpreters, students and educators.
Of course Cox has been a mainstay of the local scene, has taught on the West Coast, made forays into extensive composition, written an epic jazz mass, has prepared a book of his charts, and leads his JusUs trio regularly at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Though his local dates with larger ensembles have been infrequent since the days of the Guerilla Jam Band, he does front his band Drum at local festivals.
SEMJA Update - April 2008, 1 April 2008 [cached]
Ron Brooks and Kenny Cox
SEMJA celebrated pianist Kenny Cox with this year's Ron Brooks Award at historical Baker's Keyboard Lounge on March 16.
TOP: SEMJA President Emeritus Ron Brooks, reads the plaque honoring Kenny Cox before handing it over.
LEFT: Shahida Nurullah sang beautifully backed by Marion Hayden on bass (Cox and drummer Bert Myrick not shown).
The Jazz Word on David Weiss “Venture Inwardâ€â€¦ | Posi-Tone, 10 Nov 2013 [cached]
"Number 4 and "Snuck In," by trumpeter Moore, come from the somewhat obscure Contemporary Jazz Quintet, a group out of Detroit led by the late pianist Kenny Cox.
Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association, 6 June 2000 [cached]
2008 SEMJA Award To Kenny Cox
SEMJA's Ron Brooks Award will this year go to Kenny Cox, a Detroit pianist and educator of long standing.We will celebrate the award at Baker's Keyboard Lounge on Sunday, March 16, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. with music by the Kenn Cox Trio, food, and more.
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