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Ken Bleu Campbell

Kenny is a dynamic, Afro-Cuban percussionist performer, instructor, writer, and music songwriter. He has been blessed to perform with many internationally acclaimed musicians such as Grammy-winner Arturo Sandoval, two-time Grammy-nominee, East St. Lousian Russell Gunn, internationally acclaimed Jazz songstress, Rebecca Paris, Palmetto Recording artist Gregory Tardy (bass player Steve Kirby & Cyrus Chestnut) and his Septet, the Rob Block Latin Jazz Septet, Webster University Professors Kim Portnoy, Paul DeMarinis, Jay Hungerford, Dan Eubanks, Randy Holmes, Kevin Gianinni, and other tremendous world class musicians.

He is best known in the East St. Louis and St. Louis Music Scene by the name "Kenny Candela" and by his Salsa/Latin Jazz band, El Caribe Tropical, with whom he co-formed with current Club Viva! Salsa Club owner Mateo Mulcahy, the late Placido Pinotoledo, Iris Concepcion Dillard, and Cuban’s Jamie Tovar and Miguel More. Other members of that group included trumpeter’s Cosimu Taylor and Danny Campbell, with bassist John Brill, trombonist Dan Cavelli, bassist Jamie Restrepo, Carlos Diaz, and first cousin Eugene Alex "Bo" Deal (timbales and percussion). One of the highlights of the band was opening for Latin jazz great Poncho Sanchez and his Latin jazz ensemble.

Steve Kirby, Russell Gunn, Greg Tardy, Willie Akins, and Rob Block, all Played with the salsa band, El Caribe Tropical in 1989 -1992. The name "Kenny Candela" was given him by Cuban, Placido Pinotoledo, who played aguido with the salsa band. Placido was a political prisoner in Cuba for 13 years and was in the United States only three months when he and Kenny met in 1988, forming the salsa band shortly thereafter.

Kenny Candela, aka Bleu Campbell, also worked as comedian Steve Harvey’s biography writer and publicist in 1988, along with Harvey’s manager, the late Juan Hull, which is Ken’s first cousin. Russell Gunn enlisted Ken to produce the audio intro for his "Ethnomusicology 3" album as well.

Ken started his music ties with the R&B Group, "Soul Steel" in 1973, in Omaha, Nebraska while in the U.S. Air Force. Soul Steel played weekly for about 3 months at a venue called "Allen’s Showcase". They were the opening act for the soon to be R&B icons "The Whispers."

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ken Good Ground Records, East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Subtitle: aka
Ken Campbell

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