LuluFest 2020 Featured Artists
More concerned with the essence of a song than idiomatic limitations, 2018 Grammy nominees Kate McGarry and guitarist Keith Ganz have managed to attract the attention of tomorrow’s jazz fans. Beyond their obvious affinity for swing, their eclectic repertoire ranging from Irving Berlin to The Cars, and her signature contralto convey a message with a crystal clarity that precludes the need for gimmick or effect. All that’s left is undeniably honest music that transcends the boundaries of age or genre.
Hailed as, "Astute and sensitive" by the New York Times, and "An exceptionally appealing blend of folk and jazz" by The Wall St. Journal. Not to be missed!
"This duo has figured out how to create jazz arrangements of songs by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills and Ric Ocasek without compromising either the jazz or the rock'n'roll. The substitute chords, elasticized rhythms and deconstructionist solos make this satisfying jazz, while the lyrics are delivered with such forceful urgency that it's still satisfying rock'n'roll. The songs are transformed but never obscured." ~ Geoffrey Himes, Downbeat
McGarry’s unique musical gift is her ability to broadcast emotional transparency with undeniable and artless force. The singer one hears in McGarry’s work is gracious and endearing; she is vulnerable yet unbroken; she is always rapturous. With her musical and life collaborator, the guitarist Keith Ganz, McGarry has been forging a signature approach to standards and new compositions that is immediately fresh and very personal. ~ Kurt Elling, Jazz Times Magazine
It’s no small accomplishment to be thought of as “The most creative and compelling singer-pianist since Shirley Horn”, but that’s exactly how Joel Siegel of the Washington City Paper described Dena DeRose. If she comes to your city and you want to catch the show, go early, because the room is going to be packed. She not only awes her audiences and music critics with her facility on the piano and her swing- ing, soothing vocal style but, as Richard Scheinin (San Jose Mercury) aptly put it, “... she exudes joy ... what soul!”
DeRose always delivers “...vivid and often exciting demonstrations of how innovative her musical con- cepts are...” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner). She has brought that vitality and innovation to performances alongside the likes of Ray Brown, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, Benny Golson, Scott Hamilton, John Scofield, Houston Person, Ray Drummond, Deborah Brown, Tootie Heath, Ken Peplows- ki, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Eric Alexander, Kenny Burrell, Benny Green, Bill Charlap, David ‘Fat- head’ Newman, Sheila Jordan, Rufus Reid, Jeremy Pelt, Jay Clayton, Ingrid Jensen, Peter Bernstein, Mark Murphy, Marvin Stamm, and many others.
As a recording artist, DeRose has 12 CDs as a leader to her credit, all of which have received superior accolades. Her HighNote CDs include ‘We Won’t Forget You...An Homage To Shirley Horn’ and ‘United’ features the incomparable rhythm section of 17+ years - Martin Wind and Matt Wilson. Special guests on these recordings include Ingrid Jensen, Jeremy Pelt, Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, and Gary Smulyan.
DeRose’s newest CD for HighNote is due out March 2020 with a more contemporary jazz composition angle with songs by Alan Broadbent, Bob Dorough, and DeRose herself . This CD features Matt Wilson, Martin Wind, and special guests trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, tenor saxophonist Houston Person, and legendary jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan!
All of DeRose’s recordings from Sharp Nine, Maxjazz, and HighNote, have all received 4 stars from Downbeat, she has continued to gain listeners around the globe, and has had numerous Grammy consid- erations. Dena’s recent CD that held Grammy considerations was her HighNote recording “We Won’t Forget You...An Homage To Shirley Horn” featuring Martin Wind and Matt Wilson with special guests Eric Alexander, Jeremy Pelt, and Gary Smulyan.
Astoundingly, Dena has also found time to hone her skills as a Jazz educator, and in the past was on the adjunct faculty at some the most prestigious jazz institutes including Purchase College in New York, The Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, NYU, The New School, Long Island University, Queens College, and was on the faculty for 10 years at “New York Comes To Groningen” Prince Claus Conservatoire of Music in Holland. Ms. DeRose is currently tenured as the Professor of Jazz Voice at the Jazz Institute of The University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria.
She frequently leads clinics and workshops at such prestigious schools and festivals such as the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Centrum-Port Townsend Jazz, the Dave Brubeck Institute in Oakland, CA, The Jazz School in Berkeley, CA, the JEN, Taller de Musics in Barcelona-Spain, NJPAC Jazz for Teen Program, The Litchfield Summer Jazz Camp, the Rotterdam Summer Jazz School, and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Den Haag, among others. She has served as a first round judge at the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition and served 6 years on the NJ Star Ledger Scholarship Awards committee.
Christopher Louden of JazzTimes writes “...becalmed majesty escalating to vibrant exaltation...”, and Chris Hovan of All About Jazz writes “Over the course of the dozen albums she has recorded since land- ing in New York in 1991, DeRose has consistently proven herself as a singular pianist and vocalist with a depth of scope that is really something to hear.” The New York City Record’s Ken Dryden review of ‘United’ wrote “Dena DeRose has grown into one of the most acclaimed pianist/vocalists in jazz during her two decades-plus as a professional.”
“With a tone that's lithe and lustrous, Kristen Strom embodies her musical philosophy in every note she plays.” - Andy Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
Saxophonist Kristen Strom has been a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene for nearly two decades, acclaimed for beautifully rendered melodies, exceptional tonality, and accomplished musicianship. Strom has played alongside many well-known artists, including Manhattan Transfer, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Heath, Steve Turre, Pamela Rose, and Jon Faddis.
In addition to her solo albums, Intention, Sojourn and Moving Day: The Music of John Shifflett, she has recorded more than 40 CDs with various jazz and pop artists, including the international jazz group Crossing Borders, John Worley and Worlview, Pamela Rose, Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo, Wally Schnalle, Tammy L. Hall, The Jim Norton Collective and poet Paul Zarzyski. Moving Day: The Music of John Shifflett was included in the Best Jazz Albums of 2018 by the Mercury News. Her touring schedule has included performances across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.
Kristen is on the faculty of Santa Clara University, West Valley College and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. She is an endorsing artist and clinician for Selmer saxophones.