Location Los Angeles, California, Un
Profile Views: 28348
Last Login: 2/17/2013
Member Since 12/11/2006
Record Label Savant Records
Type of Label Indie
BioCritically Acclaimed Jazz Singer Denise Donatelli Celebrated the Launch of 2011 With Two Grammy® Nominations for her 2010 Savant release, "When Lights are Low" for Best Jazz Vocal Album and pianist/producer/arranger, Geoffrey Keezer for his arrangement of "Don't Explain" in the Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist category. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and growing up in a rural area just outside the city, GRAMMY® nominated vocalist, Denise Donatelli credits her family's musicality and relative seclusion as reasons for her musical pursuit. "I grew up in the country with no other homes around with the exception of a Shetland Pony farm across the street. I would come home from school, practice piano and listen to my sister's jazz records." Hers was a musical family (her mother was a singer before marriage and her father came from a family whose musical roots date back to 19th-century Italy) and Denise began playing piano at the age of three "when my mother heard me playing 'Silent Night.' She took me to my sister's piano teacher, who was also teaching Keith Jarrett at the time. Occasionally, Keith would drive with us to our recitals and lessons." For three consecutive years Denise won First-Place Awards in the National Federation of Music Club's yearly piano competitions. Fortunately, her love of jazz and passion for singing survived her 15 years of classical piano training. After college, Denise set her musical career aside for marriage and family. "I didn't start singing professionally until my sons were in their late teens," she says. "I was a single mother for most of their formative years and didn't want to be gone at night singing in clubs." After relocating to Atlanta, Denise met a jazz pianist and singer who encouraged her to return to singing. He brought her to an Atlanta jam session that attracted the region's top players (guitarist Russell Malone was a regular). Coaxed up on the bandstand, she sang one tune, and then several more with Russell, making such a powerful impression that she started getting calls for gigs. Her big break came when veteran blues singer Francine Reed joined Lyle Lovett's band, and Donatelli landed the three-nights-a-week engagement at the Ritz-Carlton, a steady job that allowed her to hone her jazz chops and refine a repertoire drawn largely on her close listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Denise's day job at the Turner Broadcasting Network brought her into contact with some Los Angeles-based people and she decided to make the move west. Once arriving in L.A. a friend introduced her to Neal Hefti. "Neal gave me a list of venues and recommended some excellent pianists. I booked a gig with Tom Garvin and soon recorded a demo that led to recording my first CD, 'In the Company of Friends' which was arranged and produced by Tom." The CD received critical acclaim winning a Blue Chip Jazz CD Award. About a year later, pianist composer and GRAMMY® nominee, Geoffrey Keezer received a cryptic one-line note from a friend stating simply, "Denise Donatelli is looking for you." Keezer contacted Donatelli who asked him if he'd like to work on her next CD with her. "I felt an immediate connection with her warm, open personality and her complete trust and confidence in me," Keezer recalls. "A production meeting ensued, and the ball was rolling." The product of the collaboration was Denise's second CD, this time on Joe Fields' Savant label, "What Lies Within" (Savant SCD 2095). The record garnered uniformly high praise from critics and casual listeners alike. Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer returned to the studio for Savant and recorded "When Lights Are Low" (SCD 2109), released in September, 2010. This recording earned Denise a GRAMMY® nomination for "Best Vocal Jazz Album." Geoffrey Keezer received his second GRAMMY® nomination for his arrangement of "Don't Explain" in the "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist" category. "When Lights are Low" peaked at #2 on the National Jazz Week Radio Chart, held steady in the Top Ten for three months and remained on the chart for six months. Denise's innate musicianship and pure tone have won her spots singing for episodes of The Simpsons, Frasier and Turner Classic Movies as well as national and international commercials for CNN, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and others. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Denise Donatelli continues to win audiences, performing at some of the country's leading jazz venues such as New York's famed Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, Los Angeles' Steamers and Catalina's Jazz Clubs, The Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, the historic Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society venue in Half Moon Bay, San Diego's Birch Theater, Seattle's Bake's Place, Hermosa Beach's famous Lighthouse Cafe to name a few. She has performed with a long list of jazz luminaries and has been featured with the Stan Kenton Alumni Orchestra.
MembersWhen Lights Are Low ..DENISE DONATELLI, vocals; with GEOFFREY KEEZER, piano/arranger/producer; PETER SPRAGUE, guitar; HAMILTON PRICE, bass; Jon Wikan, drums/percussion; Ron Blake, sax; Ingrid Jensen, flugelhorn; Phil O'Connor, bass clarinet; Julia Dollison, background vocals; Kerry Marsh, background vocals; Giovanna Clayton, cello; Roland Kato, Alma Lisa Fernandez; Matthew Duckles, viola; Susan Wulff, double bass ..Within the vast sea of current female jazz vocalists, Denise Donatelli clearly rises to the top. She's the 'real deal', and in my mind she ranks in the very upper echelon of modern vocal artists. With her perfect pitch, impeccable jazz timing and phrasing, wonderful repertoire, stellar all-star band, and with great production and arrangements by Geoff Keezer… it's hard to find something not to like about this release! ~ Dr. Brad Stone, Music Director KSJS-FM..
InfluencesCarmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Etta James, Etta Jones, Peggy Lee, Shirley Horn, Marlena Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Nancy King, Irene Kral, Madeline Eastman, Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Joe Williams, Jon Hendriks.
Sounds LikeDenise Donatelli .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Denise Donatelli
I haven’t heard such vocal artistry since Irene Kral.~ Phil Woods
She is a singer jazz musicians love to love ... She produced a classic example of communicative jazz ballad singing.~ Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
Phil Woods has never been accused of indiscriminate praise, particularly of vocalists. Donatelli justifies every claim he makes for her. This woman is a find.ArtsJournal.com/Rifftides: ~ Doug Ramsey, Journalist, Broadcaster
Denise Donatelli possesses that rare combination – sensuous tone, impeccable pitch and great jazz sensibility. She is truly an awesome jazz vocalist!! ~Tom Scott
In The Company of Friends proves that jazz and specifically vocal jazz are alive. Denise Donatelli is fabulous!~ Mark Murphy
Jazz vocalist Denise Donatelli is a breath of fresh air in a market seemingly saturated with female singers. Her debut recording is a stunning effort.~ Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
She’s blessed with a pure, powerful voice that suggests the rock-solid assurance and keen intelligence of Ann Hampton Callaway tempered with a soupçon of Lena Horne.~ Christopher Louden, Jazz Times MagazineBIO
Tom Scott writes, "Denise Donatelli possesses that rare combination - sensuous tone, impeccable pitch and great jazz sensibility. She is truly an awesome jazz vocalist!" Don Heckman of The Los Angeles Times writes, "She produced a classic example of communicative jazz ballad singing ... she is a singer jazz musicians love to love."
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Denise grew up in a musical family, studying classical piano. She began playing piano at the age of three and won numerous awards in the National Federation of Music Club's yearly piano competitions. Fortunately, her love of jazz and passion for singing survived her 15 years of classical piano training.
Setting her musical career aside for marriage and family, she began singing again after relocating to Atlanta, Georgia.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Denise continues to win audiences, performing at some of the city's leading jazz venues and jazz festivals throughout the country. She has performed with a long list of jazz luminaries and has been featured with the Stan Kenton Alumni Orchestra.
In 2005, Denise recorded her debut CD entitled In the Company of Friends, produced and arranged by pianist Tom Garvin. The CD received critical acclaim winning a 2005 Blue Chip Jazz CD Award and is currently enjoying a re-release in Japan on the SSJ label as of August, 08.
Denise's latest recording, What Lies Within, was released August, 08 on the Savant Records. It is produced and arranged by pianist, composer/arranger, Geoffrey Keezer. Denise is joined by internationally acclaimed musicians including, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Hamilton Price, Peter Sprague, Bob Sheppard, Alex Acuña, Carl Saunders, and Giovanna Clayton. What Lies Within is certain to create a stir not just in the microcosm of female vocalists but in the macrocosm of jazz in toto....
Member Since:December 11, 2006
Members:WHAT LIES WITHIN
DENISE DONATELLI, vocals; with GEOFFREY KEEZER, piano/arranger/producer; PETER SPRAGUE, guitar; HAMILTON PRICE, bass; MARVIN “SMITTY” SMITH, drums; CARL SAUNDERS, trumpet; BOB SHEPPARD, reeds; CARLOS DEL ROSARIO, organ; GIOVANNA CLAYTON, cello; ALEX ACUÑA, percussion
Within the vast sea of current female jazz vocalists, Denise Donatelli clearly rises to the top. She’s the ‘real deal’, and in my mind she ranks in the very upper echelon of modern vocal artists. With her perfect pitch, impeccable jazz timing and phrasing, wonderful repertoire, stellar all-star band, and with great production and arrangements by Geoff Keezer… it's hard to find something not to like about this release! ~ Dr. Brad Stone, Music Director KSJS-FM