Kenny Washington

204 – Kenny Washington: Speaking the language of Jazz

Kenny Washington is a Jazz Legend. The 58 year old Brooklyn born, Staten Island-bread drummer has played behind Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Ahmad Jamal and a never-ending list of amazing players. Washington has a strong interest in jazz history; he’s written liner notes for and/or helped prepare classic jazz re-releases by Art Blakey and Count Basie, among others. He’s also taught jazz drumming at the New School in New York City, and worked as an announcer at the New Jersey jazz radio station WBGO.

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” – Winston Churchill (Tweet this)

Kenny Washington Talks about:

  • Getting Started playing drums
  • Honoring the tradition of jazz
  • Applying melody to the kit
  • Learning and applying rudiments
  • The difference between players now and years ago
  • Much more

Resources / Links / People mentioned

Kenny Washington Plays:

Drummer’s Resource Podcast is free thanks to:

DW Drums: I’ve been playing DW for years…not only because they make high-quality, handcrafted drums but because they support and foster drumming initiatives all over the wold, much like this podcast. I’m thrilled to announce that DW has signed on to support Drummer’s Reosource for 2016! Be sure to check them out today and

Sabian Cymbals: Sabian has just released more “Big and Ugly” cymbals to their line, including 18” AA Sick Hats (super dry and 28 holes for virtually no airlock) plus more Big and Ugly’s like the 14″ and 16″ AA Apollo Hats, the 14″ XSR Monarch Hats. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have crash-friendly sizes like the 18″ and 20″ Apollo and XSR Monarch. Check ’em at at

Promark Drumsticks: Promark is Is now a sponsor of the podcast once again they were last year and now they are again. they just released the Mike Portnoy signature model that has the active grip 420X at it’s designed to add more power to your arsenal and features the heat activated technology. It’s s an awesome technology that actually adjusts to your body temperature and give you control you need so no matter how hard you play the active grip is going to help you handle it by getting tackier as it warms up. You can learn more about this great technology and the Mike Portnoy stick at

7 replies
  1. Tom
    Tom says:

    Thanks so much for this interview! I haven’t even started to listen yet, but I’m certain it will be one of my favorite interviews you have done. K. Washington, enough said!
    Thanks again,

  2. Phil Bowden
    Phil Bowden says:

    Really enjoyed this interview. There were a lot of great parts in it. Loved the part about Hank Jones and the importance of practicing basics and doing it “slowly!!” I preach that one to my students all the time. I always tell them how I’m going to be publishing my own drum instructional book. It’s only going to have one page in it that says “PRACTICE IT SLOW!!!” ha ha
    One part that came across a little negative, however, was the part about how “techniqually drums have gone down the drain!” I think he makes some valid points around that statement but at the same time he comes across a little like the grumpy older guy that wants things to be like the good old days, etc. Might have been nice if he could have contrasted this statement by naming a handful of players under 35 that he DOES respect. I’m sure he didn’t mean to say that there are no drummers in today’s generation that have it together.
    I still love hearing interviews with Kenny Washington though. He’s a great jazz historian and probably has more knowledge about jazz recordings than anyone in the world. I still remember an MD interview he did about 20 + years ago where he said that his favorite Philly Joe Jones recording is Wynton Kelly Trio “Kelly At Midnight.” I went and bought that on CD soon after that and it remains one of my favorites to this day. I definitely will check out all these materials you put links for. FYI, I see there are recordings of Frank Arsanault on Youtube. Check ’em out!

  3. Dominick Cuccia
    Dominick Cuccia says:

    I hadn’t heard this interview but Chris Packham shared the link on Facebook. “Wilcoxon on crack!” I love it.

    Kenny Washington honored me by coming to my clinic at NYU in 2013. Such a gracious, honest and sincere guy. Thanks for the great interview!!!!!!!!!

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  1. […] first heard about this set during an interview with Kenny Washington on the Drummer’s Resource Podcast (a fantastic interview worth checking out). Kenny mentioned that Engine Room is out of print, so I […]

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