Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Forsh, Kenny (Kenneth Allan)

Forsh, Kenny (Kenneth Allan), saxophones, flute, educator; b. Brooklyn, NY, 8 February 1949. A native New Yorker, he was born and raised in Brooklyn where he still resides. His parents were born in the south and coincidentally both were from Georgia. His mother (born Florence Perry, 1922) was a homemaker who loved jazz and the big band era of the 1930s and 1940s in particular. His father (born Levi G. Forsh, 1922) enjoyed gospel music and played the guitar as a hobby while raising Kenny and the younger siblings, his brother (Ronald, b. 1956) and his sister (Renita, b. 1955).

Kenny began his musical explorations in the New York City public school system during his secondary school years.  With a prior interest in vocal music and early participation in school choral groups and musical productions, he pursued his interest in instrumental music as a high school student.  Kenny was recognized as a deserving recipient of the Duke Ellington Music Scholarship and was afforded the distinct opportunity to study the bassoon with classical bassoonist, Bert Biel, who was also a member of the New York City Philharmonic Orchestra at the time. This experience ignited further interest in the other woodwind instruments.

Strongly influenced by many of the musicians of the neo-bop period, Kenny pursued further study of jazz improvisation and performance in a variety of New York City music clinics during the 1970s including the Jazzmobile, the Jazz Interactions workshops and the New Muse Community Cultural Center in Brooklyn. Kenny attributes much of his musical development to those invaluable experiences. His musical endeavors were further fueled under the musical direction and guidance of such renowned master musicians as Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman and Sonny Redd.

As an undergraduate student at Hunter College, (BA in sociology, 1971) Kenny minored in music, was involved with the jazz radio station, performed with local bands on campus and organized cultural events that attracted the participation of some major name performers such as Cedar Walton and Jimmy Heath. Kenny actively continued his musical pursuits and eventually earned his MA degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

Throughout his musical career, Kenny has performed with groups in public libraries, clubs, organizations, summer concerts and colleges.  He has devoted time to provide musical instruction and basic music skills for children in several local Brooklyn elementary after-school programs. He has also gained considerable experience from doing freelance and backup work in various local Latin, jazz and pop/contemporary bands.  Kenny has performed at Town Hall in the flute choir for Jimmy Heath's Suite of Afro-American Evolution (1976), with the Sam Brown Big Band Experience, The Creative Music Ensemble, The Black Vibrations, Just-Us Productions, Blaze, The Charles McGee- Dona Carter Big Band and was the co-leader and saxophonist with the Latin-fusion ensemble, Luis Sanabria and BRIZA.

Kenny was recognized among several notable and distinguished musicians on the Brooklyn Jazz Honor Roll at the Seventh Annual African-American Heritage Ceremony honoring the accomplishments of local jazz musicians.  Performances have been varied and assorted with numerous venues in the tri-state area including Westchester, New Jersey and Conn.  Kenny's performances have included engagements at the Foxwoods Hotel and Casino Resort, the Metronome, SOB's, The Knitting Factory, The Nuyorican Poet's CafZ, The Bell Atlantic World Festival, Soul CafZ, St. John's University and the Louis Armstrong House Garden in Corona, Queens.

Kenny was invited to perform with percussionist Eric Frazier's Quintet in the 2nd   Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival and subsequently performed at an upscale establishment in Washington, D.C. Currently working on another CD release, Kenny spends considerable energy and time preparing material and rehearsing his latin jazz band.  Kenny is also a member of the Associated Musician's of Greater New York Musician's Union Local 802 AF of M.

Kenny Forsh and The Latin Jazz Quartet Live (2001)
As sideperson:
 George Guzman and La Familia (unissued-1998);Arezer II: Just A Piece of Me (unissued-2001) Charles McGee: Finally (2002); Luis Sanabria: Homenaje: The Tres (unissued-2002)

Unissued Recordings:
1999-2003, approximately 35 hours of private minidisc and cassette tapes from various live performance venues in the tri-state area.
1987-1998, approximately 60 hours of private audiotapes, and videotapes, radio interviews (WBAI-FM with host Al Angelero) and live performances with Luis Sanabria and BRIZA, the latin-fusion ensemble.
1970-1985, an estimated 75 hours of assorted audiocassettes, vinyl LP and open reel tapes of live performances, studio rehearsals and playing sessions with a mixture of jazz groups.

Awards and Recognition:
The Duke Ellington Music Scholarship Award
New York City Board of Education- 1966
Brooklyn, New York
Certificate of Award- 3rd Annual Live Loft April Jazz Festival
Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (TDWR) - 1977
The Ladies Fort- New York City
The Brooklyn Jazz Honor Roll
Brooklyn District Attorney Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition-1999
African Heritage Month- Brooklyn, New York

Contact information:
718-951-5696 (Brooklyn College of CUNY)

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