Renaud PENANT was born in 1959 in Normandy, France. He moved to Bordeaux, in the south of France, with two friends (Emmanuel BEX and Jean-Philippe VIRET), and their trio eventually won the 1978 "Jazz Aquitaine" competition and toured the region.
He moved to Paris in 1980, studied drums at the Kenny Clarke-Dante Agostini Drum School and percussion in the conservatories of Bagnolet and Rueil-Malmaison, and obtained a unanimous first-prize at the Seine Saint-Denis drums competition. He also attended workshops under the direction of great drummers such as Max ROACH, Jack DeJOHNETTE and Clifford JARVIS.
While performing in jazz festivals and every major jazz club in Paris (New Morning, Duc des Lombards, Petit Opportun, Manhattan Jazz Club, Sunset), and touring France, Germany and Italy, he also started teaching in the conservatories of Arcueil, le Pré-St-Gervais, Epinay Sous Sénart and Chevilly.
He recorded a CD in 1990 (including two of his compositions) with Jacques FERRANDEZ’s group "Mille Sabords" entitled "Paris jour et nuit", which features as guest the saxophonist François JEANNEAU, ex-director of the French ONJ (National Jazz Orchestra).
He also composed music for television, theater ("Olym-Piaf" dedicated to the great French singer Edith Piaf), and for the CFDT (the largest worker's union in France) . . .
After studying with the legendary Jimmy COBB in 1992 during a visit to the United States, he decided to move to New York. He finally was able to do so in 2000, and has been living here since then. He has studied in the States with Joe CHAMBERS, Charli PERSIP, Joe STRASSER and Joe FARNSWORTH.
He has performed with musicians like Joe MAGNARELLI, Grant STEWART, Bob CRANSHAW, John WEBBER, Mike LeDONNE, John FARNSWORTH, Ralph LALAMA, Mike MULLINS, Sacha PERRY, Joe COHN, Zaid NASSER, Jerry WELDON, William ASH, Roy MERRIWETHER, Dan NIMMER, Ugona OKEGWO, Rob BARGAD, Adam SCONE, Pat BIANCHI, Annette St JOHN, Satoshi INOUE, Carla WHITE . . .
For two years he played for the Saturday Jam Session at Smalls with the John MERRILL Trio, and his regular engagements now include weekly gigs at Smoke with his trio (with Steve ASH and Mike KARN), and at the Harlem Col. Charles Young American Legion Post 398 with the Seleno CLARKE Trio.
He recently recorded a CD and performed at Smoke with the Joe FARNSWORTH World Rhythm Octet which features musicians such as the legendary Curtis FULLER, Ray MANTILLA, Steve NELSON, Jim ROTONDI, Eric ALEXANDER, David HAZELTINE, Anthony WONSEY, Nat REEVES and Abdou M’BOUP.