Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Kemp, Emme

Kemp, Emme, pianist, composer, singer, actress; Emme Kemp has filled the shoes of such diverse musical artists as Jay McShann, Odetta, and Jackie and Roy Kral. As a band leader, she has hired the creative likes of Paul Quinichette and Ernie Wilkins. She played with the NYU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jimmy Guiffre at Carnegie Hall, and earlier studied at Northwestern University and Berklee School of Music. She served in the U.S. Army and produced shows for Special Services, and was assigned to the Judge Advocate's office.

A former 3-year-old prodigy who grew up with the good time gospel and blues of Chicago, Emme recorded with the ragtime piano man Eubie Blake. Prior to her move to New York, Ms. Kemp lived in California and coached with the eminent pianist Egon Petri. Her jazz anthology goes from classic to modern. She has appeared on numerous college campuses and her lectures, poetry and writings from a significant overview on popular culture.
In Woody Allen's film "Sweet And Low Down," Emme is shown in the Chicago jam session scenes with Sean Penn. Kemp has played in festivals from Martinique, Italy's Umbria, Monte Carlo's Sporting Club, Lincoln Center, 92nd Street Y to the Schomburg Center. Kemp was featured as composer and actress in Broadway's musical Bubbling Brown Sugar. Her keyboard narrative Someone To Sing To premiered in Berlin in 1992 co-staring Queen Yahna and a cast of thirteen.

 Her commissioned theater piece "Echoes Out of Time" premiered at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. "The Ballad of Box Brown" followed in Philadelphia. Emme Kemp received awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, and civic organizations. Emme performed her concept songs for children on TV's Captain Kangaroo and other recent originals on The Guiding Light.

Researcher of American music Kemp initiated the 100th anniversary celebration of W.C. Handy's birth at NYC's Overseas Press Club and was recently acknowledged at the New York Press Conference announcing the U.S. Senate designation of 2003 as the "Year of the Blues."

Someone To Sing To

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