Denny Zeitlin
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Denny Zeitlin

Band Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"San Francisco Chronicle"

"Extraordinary in range, electrifying in depth and intensity, hypnotic in its flow and sweep, perfection itself..." - x

"Down Beat"

"...a stunning display of instrumental virtuosity, emotional depth, and musicality...Zeitlin's piano is impeccable..introspective, filled with joy, bitingly mocking, always intelligent and emotional." - x

"New York Times"

"...among the few contemporary jazz pianists who have the imagination, discipline and technique to rise above the competent but routine level that most of them appear willing to settle for." - x


Most recent release:
2000 - As Long as There's Music - 32 Jazz

Over 20 critically acclaimed albums on labels such as Columbia, ECM, Windham Hill Jazz, United Artists and Concord Jazz

Composer-performer of score for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"

Original music for "Sesame Street"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Denny Zeitlin was born in Chicago in 1938. His parents were both involved in medicine and music. He began playing the piano at age two, studied classical music throughout his elementary school years, and fell in love with jazz in high school--a made-to-order medium for his primary interest in improvisation and composition. He played professionally in and around Chicago while still in high school. In college, he combined his interest in jazz with formal study of music theory and composition with Alexander Tcherepnin, Robert Muczynski, and George Russell. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois in 1960 and received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1964.

He is currently a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco and Marin County and on the teaching faculty of the University of California. His first series of records appeared on Columbia in the mid and late 60's, and were received with critical acclaim and international exposure. Zeitlin soon withdrew from public appearance for several years in order to develop a pioneering integration of jazz, electronics, classical and rock. This music emerged in the early 70's with multiple recordings, culminating in the 1978 electronic-acoustic symphonic score for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Subsequently he returned to a focus on acoustic music in a multitude of settings, with continued composing, recording, and international touring.

He has recorded over two dozen critically acclaimed albums; twice won first place in the Down Beat International Jazz Critics Poll; written original music for Sesame Street; and appeared on network TV, including repeats on the Tonight Show, and CBS Sunday Morning. Zeitlin's lecture-demonstration "Unlocking the Creative Impulse: the Psychology of Improvisation" has been presented across the US and in Europe. He has concertized throughout the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe, at colleges, jazz clubs, and major festivals; appearing with jazz greats such as Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Tony Williams, David Friesen, Marian McPartland, Charlie Haden, Kronos Quartet, David Grisman, Paul Winter, and many others.

CDs of the last few years include live solo and duo recordings at Maybeck Recital Hall for Concord Records; the recent release "Denny Zeitlin & David Friesen--Live at the Jazz Bakery" on Intuition Records; and Summit Records' "In Concert", a duo album originally recorded for ITM. Highlights of 2000: a week of critically acclaimed concerts at Italy's Umbria Millennium Festival; a feature article in Keyboard; an April NPR appearance on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz"; participation with David Grisman in his album of "Dawg Duos" on Acoustic Disc; and a highly successful tour of six European countries in May. Summer activities included concerts at Oakland's Yoshi's; Portland's Mt. Hood Festival; Seattle's Jazz Alley' and Los Angeles' Jazz Bakery. Fall and winter feature a duo recording date with David Grisman for Acoustic Disc, and the November release on 32 Records of "Denny Zeitlin Trio; As long as There's Music" featuring Buster Williams, bass and Al Foster, drums. This trio will perform at New York City's "Jazz Standard" in April.

"He is the jazz world's most visible Renaissance man--a full time practicing psychiatrist, a medical school teacher and a world class jazz musician." Los Angeles Times