Barbara Dennerlein Biography

25 September 1964, Munich, Germany. Dennerlein started to learn organ when she was 11-years-old and soon acquired a Hammond B3, the classic instrument; she was performing in Munich jazz clubs by the age of 15. She played alongside Jimmy Smith on his German tour and with altoist Sonny Fortune. Her self-produced albums Jazz Live At The Munich Domicile and Bebab both won German Record Critics awards. Her trio with Christopher Widmoser (guitar) and Andreas Witte (drums) toured, played festivals and made radio and television appearances in the mid-80s. Playing foot-pedal bass in the authentic manner, Dennerlein’s combination of down-home groove and modernist freakishness was well documented on Straight Ahead (1988), for which drummer Ronnie Burrage supplied his fantastic swirling drum textures, and Ray Anderson bravura trombone.

After enthusiastic critical reception in England, Dennerlein recorded Hot Stuff in 1990 with drummer Mark Mondesir and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, prominent figures in the English jazz revival of the 1980s. In 1991, she played London’s Jazz Café and toured Europe with Widmoser and drummer Stephan Eppinger. Altoist Bobby Watson also sat in with her. She has customised her Hammond with a Midi interface so that she can unleash synthesizer sounds, but it is her understanding of classic black organ music - blues and bebop - that makes her playing so forceful.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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