Denise King was born and raised in West Philadelphia and is the third of five children. She was always an artistic person, focusing at a very young age on the visual arts, fashion design and dance. Born with a passion for anything artistic, she danced and sang in high school. After a few performances under the direction of Faye Snow at West Philadelphia High School, she was asked to audition to dance with Philadanco when the dance company was initially formed. After graduating from West and Delaware County Community College Denise went on to pursue a career in healthcare. She worked in OB-GYN at a major teaching hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. For thirteen years she worked in Oncology, In-vitro Fertilization and High Risk OB as a Medical Assistant and as the department floater.
Nineteen eighty-three was a pivotal point in her life. Her popularity as a singer was growing as was her career at the hospital. It was evident that she was on a collision course. One day after a long day at the hospital and an even longer night performing in Atlantic City, she arrived at the hospital completely exhausted. It was then that she knew she had to make a decision. Did she want to give up music which had now become her passion or continue with her job in health care. Music won out and a a career that has spanned two plus decades was born.
With no formal vocal instruction, it’s apparent that Denise was born to sing. Unlike her brothers who were drummers in R&B bands, she had no true interest in becoming a performer. At thirteen she was introduced to Jazz by an uncle, Herbert Tatum, who had an extensive collection of Jazz LP's and a cousin Cynthia who had a love of Nina Simone. Her "studies" involved hours of listening to the Jazz greats, both vocalists and instrumentalists. Denise borrowed phrasing styles from Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole and Frank Sinatra. She gained an appreciation for lyrics from Lil Jimmy Scott, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McCrae and Nina Simone. Listening as intensely to Jazz as she did R&B or music of her era, she had no idea that her listening sessions were preparing her for a career in music.
She was "discovered" by a friend who heard her singing outside of her home and introduced her to the world of Jazz performance. The early gigs were difficult in that she was painfully stage shy. But with the help of Sam Reed, sax man and leader of the legendary Uptown Theater Orchestra she overcame her stage fright. Her early performance experiences involved sharing the stage with many legends, Butch Ballard, Arthur Harper, Sam Dougherty, Cecil Payne, Jymie Merritt, Bootsie Barnes, Lex Humphries, Phil Wright, Cecil McBee, Christian McBride, Dexter Wansel, Orrin Evans, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Watson, Lonnie Plaxico, Uri Caine, Sid Simmons, Dr. Guy Ramsey, J.D. Walter, Derrick Hodge, Chris Beck, Billy Paul, Jean Carne, Celine Dion, Bunny Sigler and many, many more. They taught her the importance of having something to say every time she stepped up to the microphone. They stressed the importance of telling a story through the words and music and not just singing the song. Their instruction paid off. One night while performing at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia, Denise met Dexter Wansel, writer, arranger, producer, and A&R director at Philadelphia International Records. That meeting would forge a work relationship that has spanned twenty years.
Listening to her warm tone, impeccable phrasing, and the absolute control she has of her voice is mesmerizing. Whether she's singing a Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan standard, or a Gladys Knight or Aretha Franklin cover, she puts her heart and soul into every note. Denise has mastered the art of making a song her own no matter what the genre. When performing with her band whether trio, quartet or quintet they are the driving force behind her and support her every note. They instinctively know what she's going to do next and meet her there with perfect timing.
Ms King has sung at almost all of the top venues in Philadelphia, several in New York, Paris, Turkey, Brazil, Africa, Germany and Japan during the past 25 years. She started her musical career in her thirties and has proclaimed herself a torch bearer. A keeper of the flame. She holds the preservation and presentation of the traditional style of Jazz singing close to her heart. No gimmicks, no pyrotechnics, just a intense focus on the melody and the lyrical content.
In 1999 due to many cuts in funding for the arts in schools, dwindling numbers at Jazz concerts and a need for musicians to have a supportive venue in which to play, she expanded beyond singing and founded Denise King Entertainment. She strongly believes in giving back to the community and through programs such as Be-Bop and Books (a literacy program for children) and Friday Night Jazz at Cedar Park, which takes place on Friday evenings through the summer at Cedar Park 50th & Baltimore Aves in West Philly, she has been able to present free concerts for the past nine years. The grand aim of all of these programs is to bridge the gap between our younger generation, our more established citizens and the variety of cultures which make up our neighborhood. Denise says "West Philly is rich in history and culture and is brimming with artist in many different genres and disciplines. West Philly is lucky enough to have a wide variety of people and cultures that make up this wonderful community. In 2005 The Mellon Corporation awarded her, the first female recipient, The Community Award for her Friday Night Jazz Series. Denise states with much enthusiasm, "We're all people and we all pretty much want the same things, safe streets, safe schools, decent jobs, equal rights and opportunities. When we talk more, we learn who we are. Talking eliminates the guess work. Jazz is a great icebreaker and a great way to get the conversation started!"
July 2009, through the internet and social media, her career would take another unexpected turn. Olivier Hutman, a musician whom she had worked with 12 years prior found her on Facebook. He told her if she would come to Paris he would find her work. True to his promise he organized performances at clubs, festivals and concert halls across France, Belgium and Italy. After contacting Fred Midgeon producer, together they recorded a new CD, "No Tricks" on Cristal Records. It has garnered and continues to receive great reviews. Together with DKOH Trio they have toured extensively in France, Belgium and Italy. She is currently writing lyrics for an upcoming project for Summer 2012.
With a voice described as velvet smooth, warm and steeped in sophistication, she captivates you and holds you with every note. In this age of auto-tune, quick fixes and artistic gimmickry, her love of people, performance style, and energy have ensured her a spot in the Jazz community for a long time.
To visit Denise King's website CLICK HERE
Olivier Hutman was born November 12th, 1954 in Boulogne, France. He is a pianist, arranger & composer.
Education: PHD, ethnology on Urban Music in Ghana, under the supervision of Jean Rouch.
Musical education: 10 years study, piano, National Conservatory of Music, St Maur
Compositions: Composer, arranger in jazz, theatre, films : jingles, music for industrial films & documentaries (more than 200 scores ; Lancôme, Sanofi ; Rhône Poulenc, Chanel, Nestle, etc…), TV documentaries, pianist or/and arranger for : Michel LEGRAND, Philippe SARDE/Hubert ROSTAING, David GILMORE.
Olivier Hutman has worked with Bertrand Tavernier, Serge Moati, Jean Paul Goude.
Feature Films include: Maigret, Mille désirs 1997, Mon Oncle, 1985 : High Speed, 1987, Printemps perdu, 1990, Ma Sœur Chinoise, 1994, Die Schaukel, 2004, Le Miroir aux alouettes, 2000 , La Moitié du ciel, 2001.
Olivier Hutman was commissioned to write original a ballet for Ballet Maurice BEJART, 1990 ; Commissionned by International Musik Festival, Davos, to write suite performed by members of the New York Philharmonic, 1993 .
Career as a pianist: Accompagnist for pop singers, amongst which : Henri SALVADOR , Yves MONTAND, Charles AZNAVOUR.
As a Jazz Performer: founder of MORAVAGINE 1975 ; member of CHUTE LIBRE 1975-1977 ; Christian ESCOUDE Quartet 1981-1983; Founds own trio (Marc BERTAUX/Tony RABESON) 1983-1989 ; Eric LELANN Quartet ,1984-1988, Barney WILEN Quartet 1991-1992.
As a sideman, has worked and recorded with many artists amongst which : Pepper ADAMS, Art FARMER, Clark TERRY, Harry ‘ Sweets’ EDISON, James MOODY, Michel LEGRAND, Dee Dee BRIDGEWATER, Mark MURPHY,Stephane GRAPELLI, Toots THIELEMANS, Gary BARTZ, Junior COOK, Frank WESS, Clifford JORDAN, Mundell LOWE, Teddy EDWARDS, David ‘Fathead’ NEWMAN, Von FREEMAN, Steve GROSSMAN, Tom HARRELL, George GARZONE, Rich PERRY, Steve WILLIAMS, ROY HARGROVE
Tours and festivals: Antibes ; MIDEM-Cannes 1987/93/98 ; Singapore, Bombay, Montreal 1987/93 ; Prague, Middleheim (Antwerpen) ; Angoulême ; Nîmes ; Nancy ; festival de paris ; La Réunion ; Tokyo 1991/93 ; Leverkusen ; Berlin ; Warsaw ; Montreux ; Brussels ; Amsterdam ; Calvi ; Davos ( Switzerland) 91/92/93/94 ; Newport Jazz festival, Saratoga (USA), 1993 ; La Villette (Paris) 1993 ; Tahiti, 1995 ; Martinique, 1994 ; USA (Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles), 1995 ; Edinburgh, 1999, 2004 Singapore/Malaysia, 2003; Hungaria 2004 ;Iceland, 2004 ; Madagascar, 2005 ; Washington, New York, 2005, Malaysia, Singapore, Djakarta, 2005, New York 2006/2007 (Blue Note, Lincoln Center, IAJE).
European tour with singer Denise King 2010, European Tour with Denise King & Olivier Hutman Trio (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland) 2011.
Recordings: Over two hundred LP’s and CD’s with numerous pop and jazz artists and as a leader, in Paris, Zurich, Rome, New York (Skyline Studios New York, Acoustic Recordings Brooklyn New York), Los Angeles ( Castle Oak Studios), Tokyo.
Honours : prix Boris VIAN, French Academy of Jazz , for best Record of the year, 1984 ; 2nd European keyboardist in Jazz Hot magazine readers poll, 1987. Nomination for best record of 1997 French jazz Academy. Awards for recordings in 2002, 2003, 2008 (Le Monde, TSF, FIP, France-Infos, Jazzman)
Awards for films: Mon Oncle, best score, Biarritz, 1986 ; Printemps Perdu, Best Score Montreal 1995. Virtual Allergy, Best Score, Biarritz, 1999. D&O Biarritz 2010.
Featured Artist: Dictionnaire du Jazz (Robert Laffont) Cambridge University Dictionnary of Music. Grove Dictionary of Music (Ed. 2000)
To visit Olivier Hutman's website CLICK HERE
Clay Corley Sr.
My name is Clayton E. Corley, Sr. aka Big Trigger host and producer of an award winning internet program!