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Uprooted jazz

MSU alum Corey Kendrick drops new album


THURSDAY, June 23 — Pianist Corey Kendrick, who earned his master’s degree in jazz studies from Michigan State University just last year, returns to Lansing next week with a new album, “Rootless,” in tow.

“’Rootless’ has a lot of original music,” Kendrick said, “And a new take on old music.”

Corey Kendrick Trio
The album features the Corey Kendrick Trio, which also includes bassist Joe Vasquez and drummer Nick Bracewell. While the trio has been together for three years, “Rootless” is the group’s debut album.

“We all met studying together at Michigan State,” Kendrick said. “I got to play with them so much that we developed friendships and discovered that we really connected musically.”

Kendrick, 31, moved to the Detroit area after graduation. He grew up in Iowa, where he first discovered his passion for music.

“I’ve always enjoyed music,” Kendrick said. “But I wasn’t serious about it until high school, where I started practicing a lot of jazz.”

After high school, Kendrick studied at Southern Illinois University. There he met Reggie Thomas, a former MSU professor and Southern Illinois University’s coordinator of jazz studies, who pushed him to get his master’s degree at MSU.

“Rootless” is a personal statement for Kendrick, who wrote much of the music while deciding if he was going to go to grad school.

“The record hits home for me,” he said. “My wife and I went through a transition, figuring out what we were going to do with our lives. We were settled in Iowa with stable jobs, but I knew I wanted to do something more.”

Kendrick ultimately decided to get more involved with music and go back to school.

“The music on ‘Rootless’ was written during a time of new and unfamiliar places,” Kendrick said. “It’s about experiences — new places, anxieties, worrying and a lot of emotion.”

The trio, which is touring the upper Midwest, makes a stop in Lansing Tuesday for a set at Moriarty’s Pub. The group will perform new music from “Rootless,” as well as some standards and other surprises. The appearance is part of the bar’s popular Tuesday Night Jazz Series, which is organized by local drummer and fellow MSU grad Jeff Shoup.

“The great thing about this show is that it’s an unusual spot for jazz music,” Kendrick said. “But a great community has been built around this jazz series.”

Kendrick is also looking forward to reconnecting with friends and teachers in the area

“I’m excited to just hang out with friends and be back in Lansing,” Kendrick said. “It will be a great night.”

Corey Kendrick Trio7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28FREEMoriarty’s Pub802 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing(517)-485-5287, moriartyspublansing.com


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