Photo by Jimmy Katz
Photo by Fran Kaufman
"The most creative and compelling singer-pianist since Shirley Horn"
The New York Times once wrote, "Dena DeRose sings jazz as if she had been at it her whole life long..." As it turns out, that's quite true. She was picking out melodies on a toy organ when she was three. She studied classical piano until she discovered jazz in junior high. At 17, she found the only jazz teacher in Binghamton, New York and started lessons.
By the time she graduated from college and began playing out, her passion for jazz was hard-wired. Sadly her fervor led her straight into a case of carpal tunnel syndrome, forcing her to give up the piano. With her spirit and livelihood in jeopardy, someone dared her to get up in a club one night and sing and she loved it! She had found her ticket out, and two years later when she recovered enough to add piano back into the act, she found singing helped her add lyricism to her playing.
In 1991, she brought her trio to New York City (Martin Wind on bass and Matt Wilson on drums). They have since accumulated performance credits that range from the Blue Note, Smoke, the Jazz Standard, Jazz Alley, the Kennedy Center, Body and Soul and festivals internationally. As a sideman, Dena has performed with Ray Brown, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, David ‘Fathead' Newman, Rufus Reid, Mark Murphy, Slide Hampton and many others.
Dena has also found time to become a jazz educator and has been on the faculty of The New School and Purchase College, The Hartt School of Music, Prince Claus Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands, the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Litchfield Jazz Camp. She is currently Head of Jazz Vocal Department at The University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria.
Dena's Latest CD's for Maxjazz "Dena DeRose - Live at Jazz Standard Volume1&2" (2007 and 2008) have garnered Grammy Nominations. "Volume 2," has been chosen as one of the TOP 10 of 2008 by All About Jazz, Downbeat Magazine, and the Jazz Journalists Association.
This is Dena's 2nd appearance as a leader on the Litchfield Main Stage. She appears with Henry Johnson on guitar and vocals, Martin Wind on bass, Matt Wilson on drums and special guest, Claudio Roditi on trumpet.