The dynamic Dena DeRose Presents "Travelin' Light" - Live in Antwerp, Belgium
(Published: August 07, 2012)
The First Solo Recording of Her Illustrious Career
Dena DeRose is a swinging jazz pianist, a gifted vocalist and a talented composer and arranger. Renowned for her intelligent interpretation of standards and her distinctive voice, DeRose's new solo recording, "Travelin' Light," features her in the intimate venue, The Chromatic Attic in Antwerp, Belgium. For this recording, DeRose digs deep into the Great American Songbook unearthing some little-known gems along with other well-known classic compositions.
"This recording is one that I have wanted to make for years. Solo...just me and the piano. Live. I've received many requests to do a solo recording. I wanted to make it happen, but it took awhile to find the right time to do it, the right songs, the right audience and the right room for such a recording. The perfect setting was the Chromatic Attic in Antwerp, Belgium, operated by Herman Van Hove. I was encouraged to record there by my good friend and great jazz pianist, Jack Van Poll, and Herman ‘handpicked' the audience, so the evenings were ‘right' in every respect.
To do a ‘live' solo recording seemed daunting at first, but at the same time it gave me a sense of comfort as it reminded me of how I began this whole journey of singing and playing jazz. I started my career in my hometown of Binghamton, NY performing solo, weekly for about 2 years ...singing and playing piano in the corner of a hotel bar on an old Wurlitzer upright with a very supportive, encouraging and ‘regular' crowd that came by every week!
The songs I chose for this recording are quite dear to my heart. Some were challenging and new for me, while some were songs I've done for more than 20 years, but not in a solo format until now. I fell in love with Nice ‘n Easy and Travelin' Light when I heard the great Shirley Horn perform them live in NYC many times. Two Different Worlds has a story that many people can relate to as the world becomes a smaller place with people living and working in countries other than where they grew up, meeting and falling in love with someone of another culture, nationality or color of skin. This is a song inspired by vocalist Sammy Davis, Jr. Portrait in Black and White has a wonderful English lyric by Roger Shore. It's a Brazilian song written by the great Tom Jobim, but, Shore's story hit home for me a few years back and I'm sure the lyrics will speak to many who hear it.
Why Did I Choose You' is from the movie ‘The Yearling' written in 1966 (a great year!). I remember watching the movie when I was very young and I liked the song.
Blue in Green is a Miles Davis (and Bill Evans) tune, but with a lyric by the incredible lyricist Meredith d'Ambrosio (a true Renaissance woman!!). She titles it "Blue and Green." Meredith's lyric really brought this song to my attention again after having played this tune many times through the years. I Never Told You has a heart breaking story by the incomparable Arthur Hamilton and the music is from one of my all time favorite composers, Johnny Mandel. A rare gem! Twilight World by Marian McPartland and Johnny Mercer has an interesting story that one can see...very visual, very clear, very clever as many Mercer lyrics are. Marian's music truly makes the lyrics come alive. The rest of the tunes I just love - period. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do."
About The Artist
Dena DeRose began formal piano training at the age of three after her mother heard her pick out melodies on a toy chord organ. She studied classical music through high school and played in various pop and rock bands professionally, but by 17, she was so compelled by jazz that she would sneak out of school once or twice a week and drive four hours down to New York City to hear idols like Hank Jones, Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller perform. Trained as a pianist, DeRose didn't discover she could sing until carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis forced her to stop playing the piano while only in her early twenties. As she recovered and wondered if she would ever play again, DeRose accidentally discovered her ability to sing when a friend dared her to try it. For the next two years, she honed her vocal talent, working as a jazz vocalist and performing in venues in her hometown of Binghamton, NY where she used to appear as a pianist. By 1990, DeRose had moved to New York City to build her jazz career.
DeRose has brought vitality and innovation to her performances with legends likes Ray Brown, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, Benny Golson, Ken Peplowski, Phil Woods, David 'Fathead' Newman, Rufus Reid, Mark Murphy, Benny Green, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, and many, many others. Numerous jazz festivals worldwide have had DeRose on their roster, including Monterey, Kansas City, Sarasota, San Francisco and Litchfield in the U.S., the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel, Marciac in France and the Ancona Jazz Festival in Italy.
An experienced music educator, DeRose is currently heading the Jazz Vocal Department at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria. She also has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past 16 years, and has been on the faculty of The Litchfield Jazz Summer Workshop, Centrum Jazz Port Townsend, The Dave Brubeck Institute of Jazz, and at the Prince Clause Conservatory of Music in The Netherlands. She was selected as a judge for the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition in Washington, DC, at The Kennedy Center. Selected as "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" in Downbeat's Critics' Poll, DeRose has been featured in the New York Times, The Advocate, Singer Magazine, and in NPR programs: "Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland," "Morning Edition," and "Jazz Set with Dee Dee Bridgewater." Her self-produced debut recording as a leader, Introducing Dena DeRose (1998), received rave reviews as did her other three on Sharp Nine Records: Another World (1999); I Can See Clearly Now (2000); and Love's Holiday (2002). Travelin' Light follows her critically acclaimed MAXJAZZ recordings: Live at Jazz Standard Vol. 1 & 2 (2007 & 2008) and A Walk In The Park (2005).
More Information: http://denaderose.com