Delta professor takes jazz from class to streets

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Brian Kendrick: Delta College instructor by day, jazz musician by night.

On Nov. 16, Miracle Mile’s Valley Brewing Company in Stockton was treated to a performance by the Brian Kendrick Big Band.

Kendrick played the drums.

“It’s called the Brian Kendrick Big Band but we’re all really equals, we’re friends and I just organize it,” said Kendrick. “We all do it because we love it.”

Kendrick appreciates the loyalty of his band mates, knowing that they can leave for more fruitful positions.

“Normally these guys would be playing in smaller groups to make more money, but this band has a sound that’s sort of inescapable,” said Kendrick.

Kendrick speaks modestly of himself, but his long-time friend and band mate Patrick Langham speaks highly of his friend.

forweb“I’ve known Brian since 2003 and he’s still one of my best friends I’ve had,” said Langham.

Langham said Kendrick, who teaches Jazz Studies at Delta, is talented because he’s “well versed in a lot of different fields.”

That’s a rarity.

“Sometimes you meet a drummer and they’re good at one thing and that’s great that they’re good at one thing, Brian is great at a bunch of different things,” said Langham.

The roots of Kendrick’s passion for music trace back to his early childhood.

“I was 5-years old and my brother was 10-years older than me and he had a garage band, I would sit there and listen to them play and one day they left
to go get some hamburgers and they said don’t touch anything and as soon as they were out the door, I was on the drums,” said Kendrick.

The young musician found his calling that day.

“When they came back in the room I was playing on the drums, and at first they were mad but then they were like, well how did you figure that out? And I was like, well I’ve been watching you.”

Kendrick has always loved music, and he tries to stay open to all current and different genres.

“I try to listen to all kinds of music, I bought Kendrick Lamar’s album because everyone was raving about it.”

Lamar has put together a phenomenal career as a rapper and Brian Kendrick hopes for success with his band as well, although not in rap but in jazz.

“We’re going to record, we’re going to do a record next year, I have a recording studio in my home that I’ve developed over the past couple years,” said Kendrick. “I want to record something that really represents the best of what we can do.”

Besides playing music, Kendrick has always wanted to do what he’s doing right now at Delta College and that’s instructing young musicians.

“I was talking to my mom about this, my mom’s like 90-years old and she was calling me one day and she says you know you’ve done everything you’ve set out to do and I said, really? She says yeah! Remember you told me I just want to teach and play music,” said Kendrick.