published May 29, 2018 | posted by detroit
May 19, 2018
The title of Gayelynn’s new album “The New Beginning” is quite appropriate on many levels. She takes music composed by her esteemed father, educator, pianist, composer, Harold McKinney, and reinterprets it in her own voice. Classically trained Jazz pianist, Harold McKinney played many of his compositions with some of the top musicians in Jazz including John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Sarah Vaughn and others. Gayelynn is breathing new life into the music and reintroducing it to today’s Jazz audience.
One of Detroit’s most admired drummers, Ms. McKinney celebrates her family’s musical legacy with the new album. Besides her musically gifted father, her late mother, Gwendolyn Shepherd McKinney, was an accomplished singer. She is also related to Grammy winning record producer/pianist, Carlos McKinney, Jazz bassist Ray McKinney, trombonist Kiane Zawadi, and many others.
Growing up in a musical family was a plus for Gayelynn who started started taking lessons at age 8 and went on to receive a music degree from Oakland University. Soon after, McKinney co-founded the Grammy nominated, highly revered Jazz group Straight Ahead in the early 80’s.
Over the years she has toured and performed with such major artists as Chaka Khan, Steve Turre, Roy Hargrove, Ralph Armstrong, and the late Larry Coryell.
The long-awaited album has been in the making for nearly five years. Gayelynn received a highly coveted Kresge Foundation grant in 2014 that used specifically for this project. She also did a Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns as well. She did this all while teaching Jazz full time to Detroit high school students, playing and touring with numerous bands including Aretha Franklin and the newly reunited band Straight Ahead, for which she is a co-founder. She is definitely one of the hardest working artists in Detroit today.
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