Clarence Penn

Clarence Lacquese Penn (born March 2, 1968) is an American jazz drummer and composer.

Clarence Penn
Birth nameClarence Lacquese Penn
Born (1968-03-02) March 2, 1968 (age 53)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Years active1980s–present

Early lifeEdit

Penn was born in Detroit on March 2, 1968.[1] He started playing the drums aged around eight.[1] In 1986, while still at high school, he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy.[1] He started studying at the University of Miami in Florida in 1986, but transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University.[1]

Later life and careerEdit

At Virginia Commonwealth, he studied with Ellis Marsalis, and played in the pianist's trio from 1987 to 1991, including for a tour of Japan in 1990.[1] Penn graduated in classical percussion in 1991.[1] He was part of vocalist Betty Carter's trio from around 1990 to 1993.[1]

Penn later worked with David Sanchez, Jimmy Smith, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Scott, Greg Hatza, Stanley Clarke, Tim Warfield, Bob Berg, Diana Krall, Cyrus Chestnut, and Stephen Scott.[1] In 1997, he recorded his debut album, Penn's Landing, for Criss Cross Jazz.[2] Some of the tracks were composed by Penn.[2] His second album as leader, Play-Penn, was recorded four years later.[2]


As leaderEdit

  • Penn's Landing (Criss Cross Jazz, 1997)
  • Play-Penn (Criss Cross Jazz, 2001)
  • Saomaye (Universal, 2002)
  • Dali in Cobble Hill (Criss Cross Jazz, 2012)
  • Kind of Trio (Forced Exposure)
  • Monk: The Lost Files (Origin)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kennedy, Gary W. "Clarence Penn". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edition). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1140. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0.