The Drummer on "Get off the Ground (The Bottom End)."
One of the most significant factors of "Get off the Ground (The Bottom
End)," and the real driving force behind the track was the drumming. Kenny
Park was a powerful drummer, who had such a natural way of playing. His ability
to play the Latin/ fusion style into the straight-ahead rhythm, in such a fluent
and dynamic way was exceptional.
His drumming was very "busy", and he is part of that rare breed that
play like a drummer and a percussionist at the same time. During my study of
countless musicians to try and find out who the mystery artists were, the drummer
was very difficult to break down. Basically there was not one that sounded quite the
same as Kenny Park. There were those that you could compare him too, but in general
his style was very unique.
Park was the "pace maker" on "Get off the Ground," and
from the first drum roll, he took the ball and ran with it, creating the groove,
and intensity of the track. Even during Jamie Faunt's bass solo, Park is still
hitting hard, playing rhythms that are somewhat "funky," while maintaining
such precision. It is quite unique to hear a bass solo over this kind of drumming.
The conversation between Kenny Park and Jamie Faunt is very dynamic. I always said
that it sounded as though Kenny was "soloing" through the whole of
the track, due to the complexity of his playing. When it actually comes to his
solo, he delivers it with such modesty, and style. You've just got to admire
those rolls, especially the one into the bass drum.
Kenny Park was one of the most exciting drummer's that I had ever heard. He
was actually my favourite, which is quite something considering that I had only
heard him on one jazz tune, and I did not even know who he was. This shows what
a great a drummer he is, creating such an impact on just one track. When I played
"Get off the Ground" in the jazz rooms, so many people would ask me
who the drummer was.
In 1963-1966 Kenny Park served 3 years in the 5th Army Band. He studied music
at Southern Illinois University, and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Music
Degree. Ken has recorded with: Tammy Wynette (Capitol Records), Peggy Lee (Capitol
Records), Doc Severinson (Tonight Show), Donna Summers (Casablanca Records),
Barry Manilow (Arista Records), Kitaro (Geffen Records), as well as many other
local artists in Los Angeles.
Kenny has also performed on numerous concerts and tours. He has played with
the jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, and the Queen of soul Aretha Franklin. He has
also performed in concert with Whitney Houston. Ken was Donna Summers drummer
that was featured on her successful double album "Live And More".
He also performed with Summers on her World Tour, as well as Barry Manilow's
World Tour too. Ken Park's exceptional drumming has taken him to Asia, Japan,
Europe, and areas of the USA with the artist Kitaro. He has also toured the
United States with the singer Connie Stevens, and the Big Muddy River Band.
Don Baaska forwarded Kenny a copy of "The Bottom End" that I had
given him. After he listened to the "Get off the Ground", he said to me, "It was so great to hear
how I played back then!" Ken told me what he could remember about the legendary recording of "The
"For the session, what I remember is that I had just met Don, Valli,
and Jamie Faunt. It was at the "Celebrity Center" on 8th Street in
Los Angeles. Because of the classes that were being taught in the place, we
couldn't get started until around 11:00pm. We had to get set up, and sound check,
and get the mikes all set. By then it was around midnight.
We rehearsed once, and then recorded. I do remember how much fun it was doing it, because of the
high energy that we played with, and that was that. Who knew it would have a
life of its own thanks to you, and again thank you Seymour for all that you
have done to make this happen."
Kenny is still very active in the music world. He is currently the Principal
Tympanist/ Percussionist with BEACH CITIES SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. He is also the
Percussionist with the CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA. Kenny performs weekly at
the top jazz club CATALINA BAR AND GRILL in Hollywood, as the drummer with "The
Kenny Park's contribution to "The Bottom End/ Get off the Ground"
was outstanding to say the least. I also appreciate the fact that he corresponded
with me many times, and was kind enough to give me his account of the most historic
recording of our jazz scene. My only regret is that I have not heard enough
of Kenny's drumming, but the fact that he still plays and records is a blessing
within itself, that will enable us to hear more of him. Kenny Park, I thank
you for the gift you have given us, for your drumming is truly second to none.