[Dixielandjazz] When Ken was Kenny

Ken Mathieson ken at kenmath.free-online.co.uk
Wed Oct 14 12:32:26 PDT 2009

Hi Marek et al,

Marek wrote:

In 1992 I attended the Edinburgh Jazz Festival.  I am a compulsive
tapist - I tape all live shows I attend.  So now, after all these
years, I can hear announcements like 'on drumes - Kenny Mathieson,"
whether at jam sessions or with the Fat Sam's band (there, it is also
"arrangements" - excellent, I should add).  With Ken on drums and Mr.
McDonald on bass the band swung like hell!
Very pleasant memories.

I'm glad Marek enjoyed the (by now) ancient tapes of Fat Sam's Band, which did indeed swing like mad. Donald McDonald was an unfussy bass-player much influenced by Walter Page, so the slow to medium-tempo Basie things just grooved effortlessy. When we played Sacto, a number of bassists and drummers on other bands kept asking to sit in with Fat Sam, because their bandleaders wanted a 2-beat feel while they just wanted to groove on a steady 4.

As for the Ken/Kenny thing, when I started playing while still at school, I was known in the jazz scene (but not to my parents) as Kenny and this stuck for years. When I met my wife, she preferred Ken, so I became Ken at home, but remained Kenny in the jazz scene until the arrival of an entirely unrelated journalist called Kenny Mathieson. Thereafter life became more complicated, with old pals getting upset at me for critical reviews which had nothing to do with me. So, I became Ken on the jazz scene to distance myself from opinions I didn't share, but of course that had no impact on all the hundreds of musicians who had known me as Kenny for years before. After over 30 years of having to persuade people that there are in fact 2 (very) different people with the same name in the small Scottish jazz scene, the confusion goes on and there's scarcely a week goes by without my being mistaken for the journalist. If the journo is also being mistaken for the drummer, I wonder how many gigs I've missed out on over the years.


Ken/Kenny/Kenneth/Coinneach Mathieson


More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list