Biography

 
 


SHORT BIOG

Kevin Mackenzie lives in Scotland. He has toured extensively and has recorded on many albums in a variety of styles.


His groups have been featured along side guitarist Robben Fords power trio, Bob Berg and Mike Stern, the Crusaders and Seminal Jazz figure Ornette Coleman.


In 2001 Kevin received the prestigious ‘Creative Scotland Award’, which he used to write and record music for his nine-piece band ‘Kevin Mackenzie’s Vital Signs’. The CD gathered great reviews including album of the month in The Observer and CD of the week in The Guardian.


Some musicians he has performed with include Boris Kozlov,  Pete King, Benny Carter, Kenny Wheeler, Tommy Smith, Joe Locke, Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, David Berkman, Reid Anderson, Ari Hoenig ,Pettre Wettre. Jenna Reid, Alyth McCormack, John McCusker, Fiddlers Bid, Marie Fielding, Maggie Macinness, Sunhoney, Finlay Macdoald Band, Keep It Up, Karen Tweed,  Brian Finegan, Gino Lupari, Loren Stillman, Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker , Kurt Elling and many Others.

 

 

LONG BIOG (Still Working on this)

Kevin Mackenzie has been working within the world of music for a number of years now.

His passion for Jazz and Traditional Scottish music stems back to his childhood where his father, although a physicist by profession played Alto Sax, Clarinet, Whistles Mandolin, Guitar and Pipes. The instrument he was most drawn to (and the one that was easiest to get a sound out of) was the guitar.

He was sent to classical guitar lesson to John Williams (not that one) in the basement of Gordon Simpsons music shop. While studying at Broughton High School he was active in the music department and used the new facilities (stereo Reel to Reel with variable pitch) to transcribe some of the music he was starting to become interested in. At a party, he met fellow Broughton pupil Colin Steele, they started talking about Jazz and set about getting some gigs around Edinburgh.

 Back in the basement of Gordon Simpson’s music shop he studied Jazz Harmony, Improvisation and Bach Chorale’s with guitar teacher Neil Munro.

In 1987 Kevin won “Best Young Musician” at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and after meeting members of the band at the ‘Jamie Aebersold Summer school’ that ran that year became part of the newly formed “John Rae Collective “. Group members included Brian Kellock, Phil Bancroft, Colin Steele, Kenny Ellis and John Rae.


He began study at Leeds College of Music In January 1988 he toured France with Tommy Smith, Kenny Ellis and Ian Froman. In 1990 he toured Czechoslovakia only a few months after the 'Velvet Revolution' with the John Rae Collective. The group also tourded Canada performing in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton as part of the Du Marier international Jazz festival with. Tommy Smith stepped in for a few of the concerts as Phil Bancroft finished his medical degree. The group recorded their Album 'The Big If Smiles Again’ later that year. 

Around this time Kevin started working with “Tom Bancroft Orchestra” and several other projects.

In 1990 he completed a Post Graduate Diploma  in "Advanced Jazz” at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Fellow students include Gareth Williams, Mike Williams,  Arnie Somogie and Rufus Philpot. 

1991: Formed ‘The Kevin Mackenzie Quartet’ , featuring Julian Arguelles on saxophone 

 1991: moved to New York where he lived on East 7th Street. Here he managed to play with many up and coming and established players while also studying briefly with John Abercrombie and attending Barry Harris's Jazz workshops. He started a residency at 'The Rooster' Bar where he performed duo gigs with bassists Joris Teepe and Boris Koslov. On his return to Scotland guitarist Peter Bernstein took over the guitar chair at this gig. 


1992 he returned to Scotland where resumed work with his quartet. Received “SAC” grant for rehearsal and development of the band. Toured Scotland as part of 'Assembly Direct’s touring programme and was featured alongside guitarist Robben Ford’s power trio, Bob Berg and Mike Stern band and Seminal Jazz figure Ornette Coleman. The group featured Julian Arguelles or Phil Bancroft on tenor, Mick Hutton, Steve Watts and Kenny Ellis on bass and Tom Bancroft or John Rae on drums 

Around this time Kevin became interested in traditional folk music. The Giant Stepping Stanes “ were formed. The band played traditional Scottish music and was a work in progress for musicians like John RaeTommy SmithPhil Bancroft, Tom Bancroft, Sandy Wright, Gill Rae Freddie Thompson and Colin Steele. They soon had some concerts and television appearances. Most of the band were best known as Jazz musicians but were all keen to developed their traditional playing. Through word of mouth they soon inspired musicians such as Cathol McConnell (Boys of the Loch) to come and sit in on rehearsals, swap ideas and teach them tunes


1993: Met up with concertina player Simon Thoumire and formed “The Simon Thoumire Three”. This trio was a lively fusion of Scottish tradition, Jazz and improvisation. They recorded two albums ‘Waltzes for Playboys’ and ‘March Strathspey and Surreal’ for Green Linnet records and toured extensively in the U.K. and abroad in countries such as; Canada, Poland, Germany, Holland, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland and America. 

Kevin used his experience in Jazz with a desire to create movement in the harmony and rhythm of traditional music accompaniment. In doing so he developed his own individual and influential accompaniment style.

As his reputation in traditional music grew he found himself playing with many traditional players such as Martyn BennettEalidh Shaw, Charlie McKeron, Brian Finnegan, Simon Bradley, Karen Tweed, John McCusker, Fiddlers Bid and others. He was also a regular leader at the legendary 'Tron Session' in Edinburgh. 


 1994 he started up electric jazz based “Coolgroove “ featuring Russell Cowieson, Colin Steele, Dave MilliganJohn Speirs and Iain Copeland. This band played varied forms of Jazz Funk and was a regular feature at dance clubs such as ‘Big Beat’ and ‘JU JU Jazz’ They were also featured as a support for ‘Jazz Crusaders “ on their Scottish Tour.

Performed with the SNJO featuring Kenny Wheeler



1997: Joined traditional band ‘Keep it Up” and recorded an album of the same name which featured Simon Thoumire, Eilidh Shaw and Malcolm Stitt. 


1998: Played at Tonder festival in Denmark and the “Shetland Folk Festival”.


.1998 Toured with Pop band Hue and Cry.  Played several UK dates including supporting James Brown at Aberdeen SEC. 

Formed ‘Swirler’ played club dates, toured regularly including a trip to Tblisi, Georgia as part of their art and theatre festival and supporting former band mates ‘Hue and Cry’ at Haddington Music festival 1999. They also have a CD out on “Caber Music”. Their music was contemporary and blended the hard edged east coast sound of musicians like ‘Steve Coleman’ with ‘Drum n’ Bass’ and ‘House’ styles.

Kevin is a member of “Trio AAB”. with Phil and Tom Bancroft.. This trio experiments with all types of music and their album “Cold Fusion” won Radio Threes jazz album of the year in

1999: toured Canadian festivals with Keep it Up.


1999. They performed at Bath Music festival and  in 2000 the “Sunday Times” sighted them as one of the festival highlights. In


2000 he performed with his Quartet this time featuring drummer Ari Hoenig and performed a new set of music which was the result of a joint commission from the ‘SAC’ and ‘Assembly Direct’ at the “Edinburgh jazz Festival.

Featured with the SNJO playing the music of Pat Metheny. The other guitar players featured were Jim Mullen, Phil Robson and Mike Walker.


2001 Kevin received the prestigious ‘Creative Scotland Award’, of £25'000 which he used to write and record music for his nine-piece band ‘Kevin Mackenzie’s Vital Signs’. The CD received rave reviews including album of the month in The Observer and CD of the week in The Guardian. The group featured Aidan O’ RourkeChris StoutSimon Thoumire, Phil BancroftMartin Kershaw, Chic LyallTom Lynne, and Tom Bancroft

Joined 'Sunhoney' led by Aidan O’Rourke and Fergus MacKenzie. Performed and toured at many festivals and recorded ‘November” for Donald Shaw’s ‘Vertical;’ Label in 2001.

2000 Kevin became a  member of the 'Scottish Guitar Quartet' who toured extensively including playing at the 'Vienna Guitar Festival' in 2006’ The group release 3 CD”s of original compositions heavily arranged for 4 guitars. 

2001: Toured Uk and Australia for three months with Irish FiddlerLiz Doherty and Bodrahn player Gino Lupari.

.2003: Recorded a CD with the Finlay Macdonald Band ‘Pressed for Time’ and ‘On Safari’ with Keep it Up. 

Toured with Shetland band Fiddlers Bid in Germany Sweden and the UK. Collaborated with Swedish  group Vassen during the Scotland in Sweden Festival.


2003 Trio AAB’s album ‘Stranger things happen at C’ featuring Brian Finnegan toured as part of CMN’s ‘Double Helix’ project


2004: Toured with Kevin Henderson and Jenna Reid in Sweden and toured extensively with Finlay Macdonald. The Finlay MacDonald band brought an original mix of influences and put them into a powerful mix of pipes fiddles and grooves. They toured extensively in Europe and America. Recording two Cd"s. Pressed for Time and ReEcho. 
Toured with Tom Bancroft’s Orchestro Interupto Featuring Geri Allen on piano. 

Toured and recorded with Mario Caribe’s Quartet featuring New York pianist David Berkman. 


2012: Trio AAB Headlined the Deli Jazz Festival to 12’000 people. The band is still working and has a backlog of almost 3 CD’s of music, yet to be released


2013-2015. Toured with NYC Jazz Piano player John Colliani who worked for many years with Les Paul amd Mel Torme. 




Recent Recordings


2005; Released ‘With Silver an All ‘Jenna Reid , recorded ‘Experiments in Culture’ Simon Thoumire. Toured with Julie Fowlis,
2008: Released ‘Chiasmus’ a recording of his quartet with Julian ArguellesAidan O’Donnel and Alyn Cosker which featured original compositions.

2009: recorded and released ; East of East 7th Street’  recorded at ‘Brooklyn Recording’ with Ben Perowsky and Boris Kozlow. The CD also features Donny McCaslin on 2 of the tracks. 

2012 recorded with Loren Stillman Martin France, and Dave Ambrosio. This CD ‘Revenge of the Hammer Ladies’ was eventually released in 2015. 
2014
: Released Midnight Without You. a Duo CD with pianist Steve Hamilton featuring the re-arranged music of the Blue Nile. He also released the same year a jazz standards recording ‘Undertime’ of the same Duo.

2015: released “Revenge of the Hammer Ladies” a cd of contemporary original compositions featuring New York alto player Loren Stillman, Martin France on Drums and Dave Ambrosio on Bass.

2019: Released “The Ballad of Future Joe” A trio CD of original compositions featuring Alyn Cosker on drums and Mario Caribé on bass.


Education:  He teaches guitar privately as well as being a regular tutor at the Tolbooth in Stirling is part of the faculty on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Jazz Degree course as well as teaching on the Scottish Music degree and at Strathclyde University. He has a BSc Hons Degree in ‘International Studies’   from the Open University, a Post Graduate in ‘Advanced Jazz’ from the Guildhall in London and a ‘Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Arts Learning and Teaching’ from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is also ‘Signalong’ certified.

He has been brought in as a guest tutor to Broughton High School, Strathclyde University, Limerick University, Newcastle University, Edinburgh University G.I.T in London and many others. He has been working at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2006 and is a lecturer on the Jazz Degree and Masters course set up by Tommy Smith since its first year. He has also been teaching Harmony and composition classes on the Scottish Music course with the view of sharing his experience and knowledge gained from working in many traditional and cross genre projects.