The Kennedy Center

Dr. Cedric Carl Dent

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    American Voices: Gospel Master Session with Kim Burrell


Dr. Cedric Carl Dent, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was a baritone vocalist, music arranger, and co-producer of the 10-time Grammy Award-winning vocal group, TAKE 6. After 25 years, Dent retired from full-time performing and has been an emeritus member of the group since 2011. Since 2004, Dent has been a professor in the Middle Tennessee State University School of Music where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory, music arranging, and the history of black gospel music. He is also director of the vocal jazz ensemble, MTSU Singers.

When Cedric Carl Dent graduated from the University of Michigan in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in vocal music education, conventional wisdom said he should take the job he was immediately offered, teaching high school music. Instead, with only a few weeks' notice, he took a risk, left the comfort of his hometown, Detroit, MI, and headed south to the small town of Huntsville, AL. Fueled by a passion for music arranging and performing, he went there to join a motley crew of singers who were college students at Oakwood University.

The group is TAKE 6 (, who released their first commercial recording in 1988 on Warner Brothers Records. TAKE 6 has since recorded for Heads Up as well as their own label, TAKE 6 Records. With 10 Grammy Awards to their credit, TAKE 6 has collaborated with luminaries across several genres, including Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Denyce Graves, k.d. Lang, Don Henley, Queen Latifah, and Israel Houghton.

In 1992, Dent received an individual Grammy Award for several musical arrangements on the recording, Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. His work included an a cappella setting of "O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion" for TAKE 6 featuring the inimitable Stevie Wonder. More recognition for Dent's creative endeavors includes two Grammy Award nominations for his musical arrangements, two Dove Award nominations for his songwriting, and two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nominations.

In addition to his undergraduate degree, Dent holds degrees from the University of Alabama (M.M., music theory/arranging, 1987) and the University of Maryland (Ph.D., music theory, 1997).

Dent is currently a professor in the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University where he directs the MTSU Singers (the vocal jazz ensemble), and teaches classes in music theory, music arranging, and the history of black gospel music. He is a frequent guest lecturer, having lectured at Loma Linda University (2010); Belmont University (2009); Loyola Marymount University at Los Angeles (2009); and the University of Michigan, Dearborn (2006).

Dent lives in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, with his wife Beverly, and son, Cedric Carl Jr.
Cedric Dent