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“…a triple threat force of nature” – John Platt, WFUV, NY
The music of guitarist/singer/songwriter KJ Denhert transcends genres and generations. The description - coined by Denhert herself - “urban folk and jazz artist” only begins to sum up the influences heard in her performances and compositions. KJ channels passion through intelligent lyrics, soulful vocals and impeccable musicianship. She is irrepressible, exuberant, prolific, versatile and driven. KJ and her band, The New York Unit, have headlined at festivals in the US and internationally, including the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy (where she has been invited back for eight consecutive seasons), the San Jose, Cape Cod, and Rochester Jazz Festivals, as well as at clubs such as the Blue Note and 55 Bar in NYC and the Baz Bar in St. Barths. KJ has produced eight outstanding recordings since 1998 through her label Mother Cyclone Records. In 2007 she signed with the New York City based jazz/world imprint, Motéma Music which released her critically acclaimed CDs, LUCKY 7 and DAL VIVO A UMBRIA JAZZ ( Live at Umbria Jazz Fest ).
The music KJ writes, produces and arranges is always evolving. Recently she has been working on a new recording project featuring singular renditions of jazz and pop classics and has broken new ground with a new reggae anthem titled "Choose Your Weapon," available as a digital single download at www.kjdenhert.com. In addition to her moving original songs, she’s much loved for her own unique arrangements of others' material. "I like to get inside people’s heads with songs that everyone knows but that no one would ever expect in a jazz setting. I unveiled my rendition of 'Smoke on the Water' at the Rochester International Jazz Festival this summer and the place went wild. Everyone was smiling and asking for the recording. I have to hurry up and record that too!” says Denhert.
A Grenadian-American with mixed West Indian roots, KJ Denhert was raised in the Bronx. A self-taught instrumentalist, her love of music first became evident at 10 years old, when she composed her first heartfelt song on a four-string guitar.
An expert wordsmith whose lyrics tell deeply personal stories that communicate universal truths, KJ began to seriously hit her stride as an independent songwriter, recording artist and producer in 2004 with the release of her album GIRL LIKE ME. The song “Little Mary” off that album won first place at The Mountain Stage New Song Contest. “It was a breakthrough album for me artistically, which inspired me to leave my day job and focus on my music one more time,' she explains. She next released the impeccably produced and performed THE SONGWRITERS NOTEBOOK, on which she collaborated with fellow songwriter, Adam Falcon, also an accomplished guitarist. The CD opens with a soulful version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Agua de Beber” arranged for two voices and two guitars. Closing the disc, KJ’s original song “Private Angel” won the Kerrville New Folk Song Contest that year and earned her second Independent Music Award nomination.
In 2006, she took home the Independent Music Award for “Best Live Performance CD”, which honored her fifth album “ANOTHER YEAR GONE BY, LIVE”.
“They call me Lucky 7…lucky thing is I never give up…” These lyrics are pulled from the title track of her seventh album, LUCKY 7 (Motéma 2007). They speak an essential truth that is part of KJ’s lifelong outlook, imbued with a sense of hard-earned and cherished good fortune. This album reeled in a relationship with Motéma Music, a respected independent jazz/world imprint based in Harlem, NYC.
KJ has a phenomenal gift for live performance that has earned her a loyal, worldwide fan base. Her concerts are always a joy. Nowhere is this more evident than on KJ’s 2008 Motéma release, DAL VIVO A UMBRIA JAZZ recorded live at the 2007 Winter festival in Orvieto, Italy. KJ’s long-standing band, the NY Unit, with special guest Aaron Heick, shines as a super-tight and grooving ensemble. The disc opens and closes with a reprise from Denhert’s original suite of tunes called "What’s My Name," which KJ refers to as her "favorite musical destination, that is to say, if you think of songs as journeys, as I do." Recorded in part with funds provided by a grant from Women in Music, Inc., and released by Motéma in 2008, this disc also received a nomination for an Independent Music Award in the live performance category.
For more information visit: http://kjdenhert.com
Press Relations: Cary Goldberg, firstname.lastname@example.org