Born in Munich, Germany, in 1964, Barbara Dennerlein fell in love with the Hammond organ sound at an early age. She was eleven when the first home organ was given to her for Christmas. After only one and a half years of lessons she decided to continue autodidactic, relying upon her highly visible talent. She began to develop her own inimitable style and finally her jazz enthusiastic parents decided to buy an original Hammond B3.
Barbara became acquainted with the history of the instrument and went on her own journey of discovery in the world of music. In addition to studying the classical repertoire of standards, she also began to compose her own numbers very early on. Following first performances as a thirteen-year-old, she began to play in clubs at the age of fifteen. In the early eighties she was already fêted as the “organ tornado from Munich”.
After her first TV appearances in 1982 Barbara began to record for LP's and included own compositions right from the beginning. Her third LP “Bebab” (a compound of 'bebop' and 'Barbara') was released by her likewise named own record label which she established at age 20. Having received the German jazz critics award for it, her popularity increased tremendously in Europe and finally grew into a world wide reputation. “Harper's Bazaar” wondered: “How did this Fräulein get so funky?“ and the Los Angeles Times headlined with: ”German Organist Pumps You Out”.
Since MIDI technology came up Barbara adds synthesizers and samplers to her sound. She replaced the rather weak Hammond pedal sound by an original double bass sample that allows her to play an accentuated bass line with one foot, chords with the left hand and melody with the right.
Being a band leader from the very beginning, and often the youngest among elder, Barbara is a perfectionist, though anything but a soulless technician. She attaches the greatest importance to musical integration in the collective. Her live bands play superbly well together. Her CD productions for e.g. “ENJA” or “Verve” feature hand- picked line-ups of prominent musicians versed in different styles, such as Ray Anderson, Antonio Hart, Mitch Watkins, Randy Brecker, Jeff “Tain” Watts, David Murray, Howard Johnson, Frank Lacy, David Sanchez, Roy Hargrove, Bob Berg and Dennis Chambers.
From time to time, Barbara allows herself sufficient time to give musical expression to her innermost thoughts and aspirations and to capture these on strikingly original and very personal solo CD's. ”Solo” (1993) and “In a Silent Mood” (2004) provide a revealing insight into her musical personality, as she energetically celebrates the free flow of musical ideas which mirror her remarkable career as a brilliant exponent of the organ.