Artist Catalog

Connie Kay

Born: April 27 1927
Born in: Tuckahoe, New York


Connie Kay

Conrad Henry Kirnon (April 27, 1927 – November 30, 1994) known professionally as Connie Kay, was an American jazz drummer who was a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Self-taught on drums, he began his career with saxophonist Lester Young's quintet from 1949 to 1955 and with Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis

Kay did R&B sessions for Atlantic Records in the early to mid-1950s, and he was featured on hit records such as "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Big Joe Turner.

Kay joined the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1955, replacing original drummer Kenny Clarke. He remained through the group's dissolution in 1974 and occasional reunions into the 1990s. He played drums on several of Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's most albums: Astral Weeks, one song on Saint Dominic's Preview, and four songs on Tupelo Honey.

Kay was known for incorporating percussion instruments alongside his drum kit, such as timpani, small cymbals, triangle, bell tree, and darbukas, the latter referred to as "exotic-looking" drums in a 2006 article.