Joe Kennedy: Cruisin' through blues and Jazz
Joe Kennedy plays in the Racine 4th of July parade
A lot of really good jazz musicians have studied their craft at the
University of Wisconsin-Parkside. None more talented than Joe Kennedy ('07) or as he is known in the jazz and blues world, "Big Joe Kennedy." After graduation, Kennedy headed west and earned a master of music degree in jazz performance at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
"From there I went to New Orleans and taught jazz piano," Kennedy said. "But the economy and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hit that city pretty hard."
Kennedy's teaching gig slowed to just a few hours each day and that wasn't enough to make living in the Big Easy - easy. So he did what anyone facing the challenge of making ends meet might do: He went on a cruise - quite a few cruises, actually.
"I played jazz piano on cruise ships," Kennedy said, "it was a great way to see Belize, Mexico, Aruba, Honduras and the Caribbean."
Next stop for Big Joe Kennedy? Alaska.
Hear and see some of Kennedy's work.