World class piano virtuoso, practicing psychiatrist, and medical school teacher, Dr. Denny Zeitlin, is the worlds most visible renaissance man. Zeitlin has recorded over 35 critically acclaimed albums, has written more than 100 original compositions, has twice won first place in the Downbeat International Jazz Critics Poll, has written original music for T. V.’s “Sesame Street”, has appeared on Network T. V., including the “Tonight Show”, “CBS Sunday Morning” and has presented his lecture – demonstration “Unlocking The Creative Impulse: The Psychiatry of Improvisation” across the U. S. and Europe. Denny has performed concerts throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe with dozens of jazz greats at many top venues. Born in Chicago, Zeitlin is the son of parents who were involved in medicine and music. Denny began playing the piano at the age of two, studied classical music through elementary school, and began playing jazz professionally through high school, and in his college and medical school years. Denny’s jazz piano influences were George Shearing Billy Taylor, Bud Powell, Lenny Tristano, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum, George Russell, and he assimilate the music of Bill Evans, and Ornette Coleman, developing his own original, unique style of playing piano. Zeitlin graduated from the University of Illinois Phi Beta Kappa, and received his M. D. from John Hopkins Medical School. Active in two professions, Denny plays concerts, maintains his private psychiatric practice in San Francisco and Marin county, and is an awarding winning clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco. Recording since the early 1960’s, Zeitlin’s discography includes many jazz trio and solo piano albums as well as pioneering the integration of jazz, electronic, classical, and rock music with multiple recordings. Denny composed the Original Soundtrack for the film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In recent years, Zeitlin has focused on acoustic music in a multitude of settings, continuing to compose, record, and tour internationally. In the U. S. Denny continues to play live dates in front of enthusiastic audiences, and make new creative recordings showcasing his mastery of jazz piano improvisation.
Making his third appearance at the Jazz for Jazz Lovers Series, Zeitlin will explore the music of George Gershwin. The Gershwin brothers were two of the greatest songwriters of the early 20th century. George Gershwin’s compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. His most popular melodies are widely known, and have been performed and recorded by countless artists for nearly a century. Among Gershwin’s best known works are his orchestral compositions “Rhapsody in Blue”, and “An American in Paris, the songs “Swanee”, “Fascinating Rhythm”, “I Got Rhythm, and the opera “Porgy and Bess”, which spawned the hit “Summertime”. Dozens of Gershwin’s most well known songs are an integral part of the Great American Songbook. In his life, Gershwin wrote over 500 songs, composed 10 compositions for orchestra, 2 compositions for solo piano, 2 operas, 19 Broadway and London musicals, 5 original film scores, received an Academy award nomination, received the Congressional Gold Medal, received the Pulitzer Prize, received the George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Musical Achievement Award from UCLA, was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, and had a Theatre, a Hotel, a School, and Line Ship Deck named after him.
Exploring Gershwin’s giant contribution to American music is part of Denny Zeitlin’s continual creative output that he has played over the past 50 years that you will hear in a live performance that places him at Jazz’s creative zenith.