Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Kendrick, Rodney, piano, composer; b. Philadelphia, PA, 30 April 1960. The extended family approach to music was part of Kendrick's life from before he can remember. He grew up in Miami. His two sisters may not have played music, "but everyone else on both sides of my family did, and everyone played or sang in church." Drums were his first instrument before switching to piano. His father Jimmy Kay, played piano and accordion in church, as well as being keyboardist for Illinois Jacquet for seven years, and working with Sonny Stitt, Lou Donaldson and Sam Rivers.
By the time Rodney was out of high school he was working as a full time professional, traveling around the world with James Brown, George Clinton, R&B harmony group Harold Melvin & the Blues Notes. When he was 21, he moved to New York City. He sought out pianist Barry Harris, who took Kendrick on as a student. He served as sideman with such leaders as George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Frank Morgan, Terence Blanchard, J.J. Johnson and Stanley Turrentine. He also backed up Abbey Lincoln. He works with Graham Haynes (who is on all of Kendrick's albums). His song Malika, My Little Girl was named after one of Kendrick's three children. One daughter was born ca. 1986.
The Secrets Of Rodney Kendrick; Dance, World, Dance (1994); Last Chance For Common Sense (1996)