Loading Events

Denny Zeitlin is a 21st century renaissance man. A native of Chicago Denny combines a dual career as one of the most imaginative and audacious jazz pianists, and a practicing clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF with an active private medical practice. Zeitlin has recorded over 35 critically acclaimed albums, written over 100 original compositions, and has twice been a first place winner of “Down Beat” Magazines International Jazz Critics Poll. “Jazz Times” Magazine recognizes Denny’s creative output over the past 50 years, placing him at jazz’s creative zenith. Zeitlin began improvising at age 2, composing before elementary school, and studied classical music at the age of 6. In 8th grade he switched to jazz and by high school was playing professionally. In college Denny was playing with jazz greats like Ira Sullivan, Johnny Griffin, Wes Montgomery, Joe Farrell, Wilbur Ware, Bob Cranshaw, and others. Zeitlin credits Billy Taylor, and George Russell as his mentors, and Bill Evans as an early supporter who recorded Denny’s composition “Quiet Now” as the title track of a 1970 album. Denny sites as early influences George Shearing, Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Lennie Tristano, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, and Herbie Hancock. Denny began recording in 1963 with Johnny Hammond at Columbia Records while studying medicine at John Hopkins School of Medicine. Zeitlin first recorded with Jeremy Steig, Ben Riley, and Ben Tucker. Later, Denny recorded four trio albums with Charlie Haden and Jerry Granelli. Denny interned at UCSF followed by a psychiatric residency. Critic Leonard Feather called Zeitlin the most versatile young pianist to come to prominence in the early 1960’s. Jazz historian Ted Gioia said, “Denny has assimilated the breakthroughs of the previous decade from impressionism of Bill Evans to the free-fall explorations of Ornette Coleman, blending them into a personal style that anticipated the next 15 years of keyboard advances. Zeitlin stands out from the crowd for the unbridled creativity of his work, the richness of his harmonic pallete, and the sheer beauty of his piano tone. Through the late 60’s and most of the 70’s Denny integrated the electric keyboard, synthesizer, sound altering devices with acoustic instruments working in multiple music genres. Zeitlin has written music for “Sesame Street”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, and has played colleges, clubs, festivals, and concerts internationally. Denny has appeared with jazz greats like Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson, John Patitiucci, John Ambercrombie, Marian McPartland, David Grisman, Paul Winter, David Freisen, Matt Wilson, Buster Williams, and many others. For over 30 years Zeitlin has focused on acoustic music, recording some 22 albums. Denny has recorded solo, trio, and electro-acoustic records. His latest recording is a solo concert exploring classic compositions of Wayne Shorter. Zeitlin is a Steinway piano artist. Denny has combined his medical and jazz disciplines in a lecture and workshop entitled “Unlocking the Creative Impulse: The Psychology of Improvisation”. Denny has a passion for both of his careers where communication is paramount. Zeitlin says there has to be a depth of empathy that allows one to really inhabit the other persons’ world. It comes out as a collaborative journey in both settings. Denny’s piano playing has extraordinary range, is electrifying in depth and intensity, hypnotic in its flow and sweep, and perfection itself. Zeitlin plays with a boldness, power, and skill that is like a profound philosophical endeavor. Saturday December 3rd at 7:00pm at Pete Carlson’s, jazz pianist Denny Zeitlin in a rare solo piano concert. Don’t miss it!!!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


Go to Top