Years of hanging out with one of the greatest musicians to ever lay fingers on the keys and feet on the pedals of a Hammond organ has made me a little bit of a snob. There are lots of players out there who have fine chops but nothing to say; they mistake quantity (that is, a constant shower of notes) for quality. I can take a couple of minutes of them and then tune out.
Today, I found someone who can capital-P Play the ol' B3. I listened, heard overtones of my friend, of Fats Waller and a couple of other past greats...but most of all, I heard someone who has a unique style that just flat swings in a traditional yet trail-blazing way.
Anyone who loves jazz needs to listen to Barbara Dennerlein. She's absolutely fearless, giving the Hammond a workout as no one else can; on a pipe organ, she's dynamite. Though still young, she's already at the top of her game, confident and assertive.
Having some technical knowledge of this particular instrument, I'm especially impressed with her solo work. She can carry a tune without sidemen, and there's nothing lacking. She's equally adept at blending seamlessly with drummers, reed players and other instrumentalists. Her "rides" are sure and clean, and her original tunes are as listenable as any standards.
Few women seem to gravitate to performing jazz, and I would bet the total number of German women who do is one.
PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: Snobbishly, I will say I've heard only a handful of Europeans who can really get deeply into playing jazz. They can appreciate it just fine, but as listeners, not performers. This seems particularly true of the French, who are so deeply into analyzing the music that they don't feel it.
I couldn't help but notice that Ms Dennerlein is quite easy on the eyes, as well.
After listening to the samples on her site, I felt like taking a chainsaw to my fingers. I never have played, and never will play, with a fraction of the skill, enthusiasm and feeling she puts into her music.
But I knew I'd need my fingers to order a bunch of her recordings, so they're still firmly attached to my hands.
This is marvelous stuff.
Give her a listen.
15 hours ago