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Dena DeRose

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Dena DeRose overcame a debilitating disease to become a significant force in jazz as both a pianist and a singer. She began playing piano when she was three and, in addition to her piano lessons, she studied classical organ and percussion. In school DeRose performed with the orchestra, the marching band, and the jazz band, and accompanied musicals. She took classes in classical piano at SUNY Binghamton and worked as a jazz pianist in upstate New York. But in the mid-'80s she was struck with a combination of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome that greatly affected her right hand. She had two operations and was unable to play piano at all for two years. It looked as if her musical career was over before it had really begun. But one night while in a jazz club with some friends, she took a dare to sing. DeRose did well and enjoyed the experience so much that within a few weeks she was booking herself as a singer. By the time she was becoming well-known as a jazz vocalist, her hand had completely recovered and now she was a singer/pianist. In 1991 DeRose moved to New York City and her career began again. She worked in local clubs, made her first recording in 1997 (she has since recorded for the Sharp Nine and MaxJazz labels), and became not only a busy music educator but a regular at jazz parties and festivals. In addition to leading her own trio, DeRose has worked with such major names as Randy Brecker, Bruce Forman, Ingrid Jensen, the Ray Brown Trio, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Houston Person, and Ken Peplowski. She is heard at her best on her recent MaxJazz recordings. ~ Scott Yanow

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15 February 1966 in Binghamton, NY

Years Active:

'90s, '00s