Tyrone Hendrix: Gospel Artist Turned Jazz Virtuoso in the City of Roses

By Thomas Swan on Mar 20, 2016 10:02 PM EDT

Tyrone Hendrix has rhythm in his blood. It wasn't until later in his career that Mr. Hendrix turned that innate time keeping ability to jazz. The drummer, who now makes his home in the City of Roses (Portland, Or), is currently at work on his latest album. The young musician is constantly honing his craft and wants to achieve the same level to his craft as Tony Williams, a man Mr. Hendrix admires because of his large vocabulary in the field of jazz.

The multi-talented Mr. Hendrix is equally adept at laying smooth beats for funk, hip-hop, soul and even Americana. It is his "sense" of the history of jazz that sets him apart from many. When asked in a recent interview what tune he would play to someone who didn't "get" jazz, Tyrone responded this way, '"Giant Steps." It has a great melodic line to it and a great feel. With "Giant Steps," you don't have to play it jazzy, you can play it in hip-hop fashion or you can put odd meters in it and it will still stay in the context. It'll smooth the nerves, smooth you out. You can't help but like it when you hear it; you can't be mad at it!" That sense of history has helped guide and form Hendrix's musical pallette.

It is music and its language which provided a shelter and a direction for Hendrix as a youth. The drums were his salvation, literally. Born in Oakland, California, like a lot of school systems, music and art were cut due to budget constraints but Hendrix would find salvation in the church and gospel music. From the same interview, " For me, the drums really saved my life.(...)My pastor of my church allowed me to go into church with my friends and allowed us to express ourselves with music. Drumming is a big spiritual thing for me. So if you see me with a big grin on my face, I'm happy at the drums, doing something I love to do. It saved my life. I was able to speak my language on that."

It was Tyrone's move to Portland that his creativity began to expand and take on other creative avenues. From his website, " In 2004, Tyrone relocated to Portland, Oregon where he expanded his repertoire, adding elements of hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul, and Americana. As a constant student of the art of drumming and music, he gives back to the music community through drum clinics, and giving lessons to up and comers. Tyrone does studio work and performs regularly."

World, meet Mr. Tyrone Hendrix.

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TagsTyrone Hendrix, gospel, Oakland, Portland, Jazz, Jazz Drummer

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