Alonza McKenzie was born
August 20, 1961 in Detroit, Michigan. Being born into a supportive and
musical family, it was only a matter of time before Al accepted his fate
as a musician. With his mother having a piano in the house, he took to
the piano at a very young age. Recognizing his talent and interest, his
parents quickly found him a teacher.
In a very short period of
time, he began playing in the church and gained the title of "Child
Prodigy". He surprised everyone by being able to play a host of
instruments with ease and proficiency. Living in Detroit, many
comparisons were made to the genius Stevie Wonder with whom Al
ironically accompanied in 1997.
Many well known and respected
jazz artists acknowledged his talent and took him under their wings.
Some of these great musicians are etched in the history books and are on
many classic Motown hits (i.e. Ernie Rodgers, Teddy Harris, Edward Gooch,
and the late Earl Van Dyke).
Al received a special
invitation to attend the prestigious Interlochen Music School. While in
high school he won numerous awards and competitions.
Immediately after graduating
high school and still a teenager, he was recruited to go on tour with
the Motown Legend, Martha Reeves. As he toured around the world, it
wasn't long before he was promoted and became her musical director and
Being a first call and in
demand player, Al made artists in the Detroit area pursue him for hire
during his off the road time, including Jazz Master Marcus Belgrave,
Orthea Barnes, Millie Scott, Teddy Harris Big Band, Randy Scott, Joan
Crawford, David Miles ("Mile Stones") and Brain Storm 11. The
Rev. Jessie Jackson called on him to put together a band to help rally
support for his presidential campaign tour.
Al has gone on to work for
many Legends and Hall of Fame Artists and groups in the music industry.
To see him conduct an orchestra or hear him play his piano is the true
testament of a great musician. It was very clear why he is and has
always been in demand.
You can see Al now on tour as
the musical director for the Legendary Temptations, supporting their
Platinum CD, "Phoenix Rising", their grammy awarded cd "Ear-Resistible",
and their new CD "Awesome" as well as the "Classic"