Kenny Hadley is a drummer probably best known for leading a big band for well over three decades. His journey has taken him to local, regional and far away stages, clubs, theaters, concert halls and educational settings.
His performance credits include national acts and shows including Joan Rivers, Jerry Vale, Don Rickles, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and more.
The Worcester Jazz Festival sharing the stage with Dizzy Gillespie, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, a summer Cape Cod residency with Dave McKenna and Dick Johnson and yes, performing with Van Morrison, Peter Wolf and the Drifters.
His recordings include 3 CD’s with his Big Band, many small group works, a stint at producing and his most recent recording with “The Mark White Octet” celebrating the legacy of Dave Pell.
Theater work includes “Momma Mia”, “Hair”, “Dirty Dancing”, “Tommy”, “The Full Monty” and the American Repertoires “Pippin”.
The Kenny Hadley Big Band has wowed audiences for more than thirty years. The sixteen-piece juggernaut is a fan favorite wherever they perform.
The Band had Sunday performance dates at a club in Marshfield MA for a number of years. After relocating these Sunday gigs to Quincy MA, the performances became the place to be. Several years of Sunday Quincy dates had some famous audience members including Keith Lockhart – Boston Pops Conductor. One of the most memorable Sundays in the Bands history included a special guest performance in the final set of the day – drummer Louie Bellson.
Many of the Band members have performance credits that read like a Who’s Who of Big Band Royalty including Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Count Basie… Some members of the Band perform with the Boston Pops.
One of the highlights of Kenny’s career has been the performance of three separate concerts over the years of “The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington”. The first one of these concerts was a major production performed at The Emmanuel Church of Boston. The concert was produced by “Come Sunday Productions”, an entity that Hadley created and was instrumental in future recording ventures.
The “Sacred Concert” brought together a Hall of Fame lineup of organizations and performers, each of whom has extensive critically acclaimed and award-winning resumes. The line up included Herb Pomeroy – Conductor, The Kenny Hadley Big Band, Dick Johnson – Clarinet/Alto Saxophone, Monica Hatch – Vocals, Rebecca Parris – Vocals, Paul Broadnax – Vocals, Wyatt Jackson – Tap Dancer, Eric Jackson – Narrator, Newton North High School Concert Choir and Family Singers – Richard Travers – Director, Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble – Steven Massey – Director, George Murphy – Assistant Director, Voices of Myrtle – Kenneth Brass – Director.
The concert created a lifetime of memories for the performers and the audience. The concert was overwhelmingly received and critically acclaimed.
The Boston Globe selected the concert as one of the TOP TEN Jazz Events of the year.
The Boston Globe Jazz Festival was a big part of Kenny’s Big Band history. The Band appeared in more festivals then any other local act. For a couple of years, the festival had “Big Band Balls” conducted in the large prominent ballrooms in downtown Boston. At these events “The Kenny Hadley Big Band” shared the stage and alternated sets with the “Count Basie Orchestra” and the “Duke Ellington Orchestra”. The reviews of these concerts were generous and favorable to “The Kenny Hadley Big Band”, almost in the style of old time “Battle of the Bands” events.
Apart from being one the New England’s most sought-after drummers, Kenny is in demand as a guest clinician. He has worked with many of the areas best and the areas up and coming school jazz programs in the region. His work is well received and has been a source of inspiration to students for many decades.
The clinic work and Master Classes are some of his educational endeavors as is his private teaching lessons at “DiCenso's Drum Shop” and “South Shore Music” in Quincy and Weymouth Landing since the mid-eighties.
In 2013 the “Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education”, an organization dedicated to promoting and providing Jazz Education throughout the state of Massachusetts bestowed upon Kenny, its “Lifetime Achievement Award”.
For more than twenty years, Kenny has been a member of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts Music faculty as an Instructor of drums, Director of Saturday sessions and FSPA Percussion Ensemble. He serves as Orchestra Contractor for the Franklin Performing Arts Company and Co-Produced the CD recordings of “Electric Youth”. Electric Youth and the Boston Show Band have toured Europe more than a dozen times. They have performed at prestigious theaters and stages, Disney Paris and their home performance space, “The Black Box”, Franklin MA. The group performs fully choregraphed shows consisting of Pop hits and Show tunes. They have recorded six CD’s.
The Kenny Hadley Big Band is still actively performing and Kenny’s playing, and teaching continues… Stay Tuned!