Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer QuartetDouglas Beach House aka Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society/ConcertHalf Moon Bay, CaliforniaApril 21, 2013Two-time Grammy nominee Denise Donatelli once again teamed up with master pianist Geoffrey Keezer for the singer's performance at the Bach Dynamite and Dancing Society. Aside from these two principals, Essiet Essiet from Queens, New York, took charge of the bass. Also from the New York scene, Sylvia Cuenca handled the drums and percussion with an ease and a marked beat that was clearly present but not overwhelming. Hailing from San Diego, Peter Sprague hefted ...read more
Denise Donatelli Charlie O's Van Nuys, CA May 20, 2011 The Los Angeles area is blessed with the presence of many talented vocalists--drawn, no doubt, by both the Mediterranean climate and the abundance of studio work. In May, a pair of transplanted East Coast songbirds, Denise Donatelli and Janis Mann, warbled their way through several spirited and memorable sets at Charlie O's in the San Fernando Valley.Donatelli, an Atlanta native whose recording, When Lights Are Low (Savant, 2010), was nominated for a Grammy this past year, stopped by the cozy jazz joint in Van Nuys ...read more
Los Angeles-based vocalist Denise Donatelli won a Grammy nomination with her third CD, When Lights Are Low (Savant Records, 2010). An East Coast native and a recipient of classical piano training, she turned to singing jazz, wound up relocating to the West Coast and has since pursued her performance and recording career. This interview was conducted shortly after her Grammy weekend experience. All About Jazz: Talk a little about your musical background. Denise Donatelli: I was born into a musical family. My mother was a singer in New York, before she and my dad married, and ...read more
Commanding a soothing, lush voice capable of tenderizing the lyrics of any song, Denise Donatelli does a wonderful job on When Light are Low, a collaboration with friend and musical director Geoffrey Keezer. The album has received two Grammy nominations, one of which is for Best Vocal Jazz Album," leaving no doubt that this is indeed an exceptional recording. The other Grammy nod is for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying A Vocalist," for Keezer's arrangement of Billie Holiday's classic, Don't Explain."Iin addition to producing and arranging, Keezer also performs on piano, and crafts a variety of instrumental combinations in ...read more
A recent news photo depicted pop singer, Lady Gaga, accepting an MTV Video Music Award bedecked in a gown of raw meat. While reactions to that stunt went to understandable extremes--condone as art or revolt as déclassé--it's easy to wonder what women jazz vocalists might have thought of it. Based upon the marvelously entertaining and stylistically brilliant CD, When Lights are Low, it might not be a surprise to envision Denise Donatelli heading up on stage come Grammy time. And, the only chops" she'd be wearing would be the ones she carries wherever she appears. When Lights ...read more
Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey KeezerDouglas Beach HouseHalf Moon Bay, CaliforniaSunday, August 9, 2009Arriving at the Douglas Beach House after performing at the San Jose Jazz Festival, up and coming Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Denise Donatelli brought with her a stellar jazz quartet featuring pianist Geoffrey Keezer on piano, bassist Hamilton Price, Duncan Moore on drums, and saxophonist/flutist Bob Sheppard on an array of reeds. Her performance was based on her latest newest CD album release on Savant Records Denise Donatelli: What Lies Within" arranged by Geoffrey Keezer. The album, a collection of jazz classics and ...read more
Every now and then--in the sea of good but interchangeable, up-and-coming female vocalists--arrives a distinctive voice. Denise Donatelli is such a voice. Backed by Geoffrey Keezer (piano/arranger), Carl Saunders (trumpet), Bob Sheppard (reeds), Peter Sprague (guitar), Hamilton Price (bass), Marvin Smitty" Smith (drums), Carlos Del Rosario (organ), Giovanna Clayton (cello) and Alex Acuna (percussion), the LA-based singer sails through an interesting and unhackneyed selection of material. As the liner notes indicate, Donatelli chooses to be another instrument." This approach is reminiscent of Stan Kenton's work with vocalist June Christy. However, Donatelli sounds like no other instrument. She ...read more
It is refreshing indeed to hear a lovely voice fronting a superb cast of musicians, and then combining to forge one exceptional recording, which is what Los Angeles-based singer Denise Donatelli has done in What Lies Within. As she voices the lyrics of Harold Arlen's My Shining Hour"--the opening tune in a selection of eleven uncommon standards--the words this will be my shining hour," should refer to the magical performance on an album that may well be her finest hour of studio work yet.
Not content to be seen as just another chick singer" among the plethora of ...read more
Denise Donatelli brings the rich texture of her voice and the subtle rhythmic stride of her phrasing to the forum through a program of familiar jazz standards on In the Company of Friends. Working with an all-star ensemble of Los Angeles veterans, she's comfortable with a balance of heartfelt interpretation and sparkling musical persuasion.
You Don't Know What Love Is" proves sultry and exotic as the singer cools her delivery with whispered sighs and then builds the aura with powerful vocal punctuation. Sparkling with syncopated clusters, the music reinforces a lyric message that attempts to describe the way ...read more
Everything about In The Company of Friends is first class. For one thing, there is a sense of balance: between comfortable material and challenging reinvention, between brilliantly conceived arrangements (never cluttered) and sparse backgrounds, between ensemble playing and soloing, between singer and accompanist. Each tune is a fresh scenario with its own message, especially in the rhythm department. I've been playing the CD over and over since I got it, and I'm still not tired of it.
Denise Donatelli moved to Los Angeles recently from Atlanta. This is her first CD, and it came out of a working relationship with ...read more
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