Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer at the Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay, CA

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Denise is quickly becoming one of today's top jazz vocalists. —Bill Leikam
Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, California
Sunday, August 9, 2009

Arriving 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 Keezer's original arrangements, is as fresh and alive as the sunlit Sunday afternoon on Half Moon Bay with dolphins cavorting in the waves just offshore.

Soaring on the wings of this album, her second, Donatelli is quickly becoming one of today's top jazz vocalists. She opened the late afternoon with her song "Sails." Afterward she said, "That was fun singing that song while looking out at the ocean." The packed audience at the Douglas Beach House responded with a warm welcome. As her performance unfolded, it became obvious that this woman is unique in style and tone. No two songs were the same. Each "tested" her with a new style: from scat to rapid fire lyrics, to a sensually smooth, easy-going, expressive ballad. Without a fault, her remarkable abilities, her range and her precise articulation of each word graced the intimate boutique setting. The performance was refreshing.

Donatelli has one of those voices that will age well like a fine vintage wine. She surrounds herself with some of our top jazz musician—for instance, Keezer who uses his piano as a percussive instrument, knocking out the tunes with the eagerness of an explorer. Key to any jazz band is the drummer, and while many of today's jazz drummers have a tendency to overwhelm the rest of the group, Duncan Moore's contributions delicately maintained time without becoming obtrusive. Hamilton Price on acoustic bass sustained the melodic idea well with some inventive solos while the inimitable Bob Sheppard on saxophones and flute had an uncanny way of coming in with impeccable precision and with imaginative flurries that balanced nicely with the group.

By the time the evening drew to a close, the sophisticated jazz audience was mesmerized with what it had just heard. Before her last number Donatelli said, "This is by far the best venue I've ever played. You're so lucky." When asked why we were so lucky, she replied, "Because, just look at it: You have the ocean right out there and an intimate setting where the audience and the band are almost one. This is unique to say the least." The featured artist was relaxed all the way through her performance—not like some performers who feel the need to push onward through song after song. When the last song came to its end, the audience gave her and her band a standing ovation. She is certainly a jazz singer we are going to hear a lot more from for decades to come.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Diane Schuur at Birdland Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront Live Reviews Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Live Reviews Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation" Live Reviews Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone" Live Reviews Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "The Specials at Higher Ground" Live Reviews The Specials at Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Punkt Festival 2017" Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "November Music 2016" Live Reviews November Music 2016
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2016

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor