R.I.P. The Temptations Music Director, Al McKenzie

We are extremely sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of longtime Temptations music director, the great Al McKenzie. He was 57, and had been battling brain cancer for several months.

The Detroit-born and raised McKenzie was a child prodigy who achieved musical prominence in many varied ways. He spent years teaching jazz music to Detroit youth and even opened his own music academy in the Detroit area. Al was also part of one of the region’s musical “power teams,” with his wife, noted singer Penny Wells.

We are extremely sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of longtime Temptations music director, the great Al McKenzie. He was 57, and had been battling brain cancer for several months.

The Detroit-born and raised McKenzie was a child prodigy who achieved musical prominence in many varied ways. He spent years teaching jazz music to Detroit youth and even opened his own music academy in the Detroit area. Al was also part of one of the region’s musical “power teams,” with his wife, noted singer Penny Wells.

But what Al was best known for was as an in demand musician working with many classic soul acts, including The Spinners, The Four Tops, Anita Baker and Stevie Wonder. And it all peaked with his work for several years as the Music Director for the Temptations, leading the band for arguable the greatest soul music group of all time, both in concert and on several albums. McKenzie also recorded three successful Smooth Jazz CDs, showing his penchant for sonically pleasing, engaging music.

We express our deepest condolences to Penny and to all of Al’s family and friends.

By Chris Rizik

 
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