Jazz drummer Connie Kay was born as Conrad Henry Kirnon on April 27, 1927. Self-taught on the drums, Kay played in the mid-'40s with Sir Charles Thompson, Miles Davis, and Cat Anderson. He was in Lester Young's quintet off and on during 1949-55, a time in which he also worked with Beryl Booker, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and others.
In February 1955, Connie Kay joined the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), replacing original drummer Kenny Clarke. Kay traveled the world with MJQ up until it called it quits in 1974.
During that era Connie Kay also was a guest on small-group sets with Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Heath and Paul Desmond with Jim Hall.
During 1975-1981 Kay worked with Tommy Flanagan, Soprano Summit, Benny Goodman and was the house drummer at Eddie Condon's club. Because for just two months shy of 40 years (including seven years in which the group was on "vacation"), Connie Kay was the drummer/percussionist with MJQ, he may be most remembered as so. His subtle constant contributions were an invaluable asset to everyone he came in contact with.
Connie Kay died November 30, 1994 in New York, NY. He had already been ill for several years.