Denise King
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Denise King

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September 15, 2005
DENISE KING awarded the
2005 Mellon Jazz Community Award
for Friday Night Jazz@ The Firehouse Farmer's Market, a community based Jazz series in West Philly

Denise King Sings Like A Satin Doll by Donald True Van Duesen

Denise King sings pop and jazz standards with touches of the blues, soul and even gospel in a voice steeped in a sophisticated, swinging, sometimes soulful, satin style much like one of her idols, Sarah Vaughan.
Her group includes: Aaron Graves, piano; Lee Smith, bass; Lucky Thompson, drums; Sam Reed, tenor-alto sax and Napoleon Black, percussion; a winning hand in any jazz club.
A singer, who cares about the song, Ms King said: "I am a sucker for the lyrics and not interested in vocal gymnastics. I want to hear the story the writer has to tell." And for this, those who share King"s love of Gershwin and Porter, can only be thankful. Some of her favorites: The Nearness of You, Poor Butterfly, Fever, Stolen Moments and Crazy. Her own favorite singers include: Sarah, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, King Cole, Nancy Wilson, Sinatra and, yes, even Patsy Cline.
Ms King has sung at almost all the top clubs in Philadelphia and several in New York, Paris and Japan during the past 15 years. She started in her thirties and has expanded beyond singing into Denise King Enterprises producing concerts, records and dates for herself and others. Among her childhood influences were an uncle's jazz and blues record collection and Sid Mark's weekly radio marathon of Sinatra stylings. She says now, simply, "I loved gospel, blues, jazz, pop, Sinatra and R&B stars such as Ruth Brown and Ko Ko Taylor." She sums it all up saying, "I think I am a universal spirit." Yes, indeed!

***** Denise King Is The VOICE!!
Reviewer: Sandra Kaye
All I had to hear was the first line of the first song and I was sold. Denise King should be on the TOP of billboard. We need to make some noise!! This CD is also grammy ready. Where are these people when we need them. Sandra Kaye

*****Naturally talented and she can "yodel".
Reviewer: AMIR
My favorite song is the "Nearness of You". When i heard the "yodel", I'm like I will fly to Philly again to hear Denise King. I hear the spirit of Carmen. You are truly blessed with a "natural". peace AMIR

****Reviewer: Iraina Salaam
I heard the Nearness of You on the radio & didn't recognize the artist. I was excited to learn that she was a local talent from Philly! She has a fantastic voice. I love every song on the CD. Can't wait to see her in person!
what a voice!

*****Reviewer: ©
i bought this cd because i collect versions of the song "fever". i didn't regret it. in the contrary: each song on this record is a classic. and i'm sure peggy lee would have approved denise's fever!

*****Reviewer: Jesse Garber
The bass lines in Fever are phenomenal. Denise King's voice ia a multi-octave instrument that blends jazz, pop, and R&B into an enjoyable listening experience. I am amazed as a resident of Philadelphia that I only recently discovered her while listening to the local jazz radio station WRTI. Can't wait to see her live.

*****Reviewer: Todd Forman
Brilliant CD! The ballads envelop you in satin then wrap you in velvet for good measure!
Denise is a sentimental traditionalist in every way. She goes out of her way to

*****Reviewer: Jazz Review/ Jazz Loft Richard Bourcier (click for website)
That little gal from Philadelphia has done it again. Denise King has followed up her 1998 "Simply Mellow" album with the brand new CD titled "Fever." We loved her then and we still love her. Denise is a sentimental traditionalist in every way. She goes out of her way to preserve the classy side of jazz singing. In the spirit of such predecessors as Sarah, Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae, King swings gently and keeps it simple. The "vignettes" with pianist, Aaron Graves are a highlight of the album. On her earlier CD, Denise featured a set of guitar vignettes with David Cullen. The duo tracks work very well for Ms. King. It's purely a coincidence that I should review "Fever" after hearing that Peggy Lee passed away this morning. Peggy would have loved Denise's version of the song that will forever be her signature. Among my favorites are the title tune, Jim, In a Sentimental Mood and Horace Silver's beautiful Song For My Father. The inclusion of the rarely recorded Violets For Your Furs earns a lot of praise. It's not an easy song for any singer. Denise winds up the session with a swinging rendition of Green Dolphin Street. Top marks!

***** Denise King is an expressive, big-voiced singer who combines jazz with elements
Reviewer: All Music Guide, Alex Henderson
Influenced by Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw and Sarah Vaughan, Denise King is an expressive, big-voiced singer who combines jazz with elements of R&B, blues and gospel.Though she's no stranger to standards, o -

Denise King Jazz stars a sultry songstress who presents captivating jazz standards. - Philly Fun Guide

It’s officially summer when we welcome back Friday Night Jazz to Baltimore Avenue. Denise King, jazz diva and Series Coordinator has a great season lined up. Now all that’s needed are the crowds of jazz fans that are sure to come out again in droves, as in previous summers, to make it a true summer in the city experience.
- University City District

PHILADELPHIA, September 14, 2005 — In recognition of her successful efforts to present free community jazz programs and launching a companion program that encourages youngsters to continue reading during the summer, Denise King has been named the recipient of the 2005 Mellon Jazz Community Award. The award recognizes local venues, individuals, organizations, clubs, musicians, programs and institutions for their significant contributions to jazz in the southeastern Pennsylvania area. The three previous awardees were WRTI-FM, Temple University's public radio station (2004); Anthony H. "Tony" Williams, founder of the Mount Airy Cultural Center (2003); and Bob Perkins, long-time jazz broadcaster and journalist (2002).

"Our region has a wealth of talented individuals and organizations that have helped build and strengthen our ties to jazz. This year, we are proud to honor Denise King, a trailblazer who made her dream and vision to give her neighborhood easy, free access to jazz a reality," said David Kutch, chairman of Mellon Financial Corporation's Mid-Atlantic region. "In our 20th year of sponsoring jazz in Philadelphia, it is fitting to honor someone who tirelessly promotes the accomplishments of jazz musicians, especially Philadelphia-born musicians and others who call this area home."
- The Mellon Corporation

The official website for Denise King. One of the worlds finest unknown vocalist. If you love the greats, you'll love her. ...

The popular Upstarts! shows have ranged from an outstanding Month of Mondays featuring a "Northern Lights Jazz Series" of up-and-coming Scandinavian bands to a wide variety of college groups and soloists from the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, The New School, NYU, and from university jazz programs across the country. After Hours sets regularly feature exciting jazz instrumentalists and singers deserving a much larger audience: pianists Helen Sung, Aaron Diehl, and Pete Malinverni; saxophonists Bob Kindred, Stacy Dillard, and George Garzone; organist Akiko Tsuruga; singers Denise King and Giacomo Gates, and many more. - Playbill Arts


I Remember You...Live In Japan
Now...Ain't That Love
Simply Mellow

CD's with others and Background vocals
Dexter Wansel Digital Groove World
Lou Rawls Shooting Star
Billy Paul Live In Paris
Phyllis Hyman I Refuse To Be Lonely
Musicology with Dr Guy Ramsey

FEVER can be heard on radio stations nationally and internationally.

Various jingles and voice overs



One day a shy girl from Philadelphia, PA, was sweeping her front stoop and sweetly singing "Summertime” when a guitarist/writer from Philadelphia International Records walked by and heard her singing. He was so impressed by what he heard that he auditioned her, hired her and the rest is history. That was the beginning of a singing career that would WOW people in Brazil, France, Africa, Japan, Turkey, and other places around the world.

With no formal vocal instruction, it’s apparent that she was born to sing. She was introduced to Jazz at age twelve by an uncle who had an extensive collection of Jazz LP's. 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.

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 experiences involved sharing the stage with many legends, Butch Ballard, Arthur Harper, Sam Dougherty, Cecil Payne, Jymie Merritt, Bootsie Barnes, Lex Humphries and many, many more. They taught her the importance of having something to say every time she stepped up to the microphone. Their instruction paid off.

Denise King is a very passionate singer who has a way of pulling her audiences into her performances. 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. Over the years, she has shared the stage with such greats as Roy Hargrove, The Brecker Brothers, Phil Wright, Cecil McBee, Christian McBride, Orrin Evans, Lonnie Plaxico, Uri Caine, Sid Simmons, Dr. Guy Ramsey, J.D. Walter, Barbara Morrison, Derrick Hodge, Chris Beck, Billy Paul, Jean Carne, Celine Dion, Bunny Sigler and the list goes on and on. 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. With a voice described as velvet smooth she captivates you and holds you with every note. When she's in concert, it's not unusual to see her break out into a dance on stage or with someone from the audience. Her shows are always energetic, fun and spontaneous. Her love of people, performance style, and energy are sure to always make Denise King a favorite at any venue.
In 1999 Denise founded a community based Jazz concert series and children's lieracy program Bebop and Books. She will appear as an xtra in the movie "Cover" directed by Bill Duke.

Concerts, Festivals and Theater

It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues, Prince Theater
Painted Bride Arts Center
Mellon Jazz Festival
PECO Energy Jazz Festival
Sunoco Welcome America
Toured Europe, Brazil and Africa with Billy Paul
Wiggins Park Jazz Series
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Cape May Jazz Festival
Cape May Convention Center
Willingboro Jazz Festival
Trump Castle w/ Dexter Wansel
Resorts SuperStar Theater w/ Dexter Wansel
Fort Dupont, Washington DC
Tribute to The Sound of Phila.
Too Close to Home w/ Conway and Pratt
When The Bough Breaks w/ TOVA
The Jazz Cruise 2006
"Cover" a feature film by Bill Duke

Radio and Television
Profiles w/ Toni Nash channel 57
10!, Phila., PA
All Things Considered, Elizabeth Blair
WRTI 90.1, Phila., PA

Club Venues
Q Jazz Bar Istanbul, Turkey
Satin Doll, Kobe Japan
La Villa Paris France
Black Bar, Berlin, Germany
Weitzigmann Pallazzo Frankfurt, Germany

New York City:
Birdland, Iridium, Smalls, Village Gate

Philadelphia, PA:
Chris', Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus, Warm Daddy’s,
Zanzibar Blue



I Remember You...Live In Japan
Now...Ain't That Love
Simply Mellow

CD's with others and Background vocals:
Digital Groove World, Dexter Wansel
Shooting Star, Lou Rawls
Live In Paris, Billy Paul
I Refuse To Be Lonely, Phyllis Hyman

Hear music at: