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10/8 KJ Denhert brings urban folk & jazz to Johnny D's

With a genre-transcending sound that she calls urban, folk & jazz, award-winning singer-songwriter KJ Denhert's loyal following has increased with each of the six CDs she released on her own Mother Cyclone label and her seventh, Lucky 7, released in tandem with MotИma Music in May 2008.

Denhert and her band, The NY Unit, have a twelve year-long history of dynamic live shows in the US, Italy and the Caribbean. Now, after a run of over 100 shows supporting Lucky 7, KJ has announced the October 14 release of a live recording, and her eighth release to date: KJ Denhert Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz, which bears witness to the rising international phenomenon that is KJ Denhert and the NY Unit.

KJ Denhert Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz was recorded during KJ's residency at Italy's Umbria Jazz Festival, Winter 2007, where she has become an increasingly popular performer since her first appearance there in summer of 2006. Adding a new flavor to the band is saxophonist Aaron Heick, known for his eight plus years touring with Chaka Kahn, and his work with bassist Richard Bona and countless other recording projects. The pairing of Heick's lyrical saxophone with Denhert's ensemble turned out to be live magic. "I didn't invite Aaron because I wanted to add saxophone to the band, I invited him because I wanted to add Aaron Heick!" said Denhert. In fact, the chemistry was so strong that Heick has been touring with KJ ever since, and was a key man on hand when she and the band opened for Alicia Keys on the main stage at Umbria this summer.

KJ Denhert Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz was recorded by two of Italy's top engineers recommended by Carlo Pagnotta, founder of the Umbria Jazz festival. The new CD was mixed in New York by Grammy -Award winning engineer Ben Wisch, who also mixed Lucky 7 and who is known for his work with such acclaimed songwriters as Marc Cohn and Jonatha Brooke.

The unfolding of KJ's career as a serious American songwriter has been underscored with wins in the Mountain Stage New Song Contest in 2005, the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting contest in 2006, and an Independent Music Award win for Best Live Recording for her last live CD, Another Year Gone By. An amazingly versatile guitarist, Denhert pushes far beyond the realm of singer- songwriter as a player who will step out to add an acoustic or electric solo while infusing the shows with her larger-than-life personality. The energy of her live band, along with the chance to feature Aaron Heick, was the impetus for KJ to don a producer's hat and take the opportunity to expand her catalogue with Dal Vivo.

KJ's band features a rock a solid rhythm section that has been performing together steadily since 1996, including Senegal - born bass player Mamadou Ba, (Harry Belafonte, Regina Carter, Leni Stern, ) drummer Ray Levier (John Abercrombie, Francois Moutin, Mike Stern, ) electric guitarist John Caban (Richard Bona, Alana Davis) and keyboardist (and Lucky 7 co producer) Bennett Paster (Kurt Elling, Cassandra Wilson, Rufus Reid.)

This live offering features spirited live versions of songs from Denhert's twelve-year repertoire, including extended versions of four fan favorites from Lucky 7, the hauntingly beautiful ballads "I've got Time" and "Violet, " an inspired ten minute urban folk & jazz version of The Police's "Message in a Bottle, " and a deeply personal take on the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride." Also captured live is the debut recording of a Bossa-inspired co-write, "All These Things", recorded as a duo between Denhert and Heick, and "August Clown, " which has been a highlight of her live shows this summer and is another fine example of the intimate compositions that represent Denhert's signature sound with her penchant for a strong groove.

Percussionist and label-mate "Bujo" Kevin Jones who has recorded with the Isley Bros, Gloria Gaynor and Winard Harper, and who is also a regular with KJ's NY Unit, added percussion tracks on "August Clown" and "Message in a Bottle, " during the NYC mixing sessions. No other enhancements were added to the live recording.

MotИma Music, home to such internationally renowned acts as Rufus Reid and Lynne Arriale, was drawn to Denhert's originality, musical sophistication and lyrical poignancy, and signed her in 2007. "KJ's music is a designer cocktail of the very best of James Taylor, Joan Armatrading, Sting and Sergio Mendez with a splash of Steely Dan, and Joni Mitchell adding flavor to the mix, " explains MotИma founder Jana Herzen. Although Herzen first discovered Denhert in late 2005 through the press surrounding KJ's Independent Music Award, they reconnected in 2007, after a period during which Denhert had gone through personal upheaval and professional change, including facing cancer within her family, the loss of her father and a major career change, as she bravely chose to return to full time musicianship after spending years as a financial analyst for Dannon Yogurt. Denhert had worked through it all to produce Lucky 7, which shines with the artist's positive and passionate perspective on the future.

Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz follows only six months after the retail release of Lucky 7 and is poised to ride the swelling wave of national radio airplay and positive press generated by that CD. Music Tap praised Lucky 7 as "a grand collection of superior songs that not only sound great but also have important things to share; things that we all have in our heart's closets with the respected music to convey the depths of that raging river." Minor 7th raved, "Denhert makes uncategorisable music that sure does a soul good any label is unnecessary because only one artist makes music like this. I could call it terrifically ambitious and thoroughly listenable, but let's just call it Denhert music." GratefulWeb.com simply stated, "Jam fans will love Lucky 7. The music is jazz improv at its best. The album is beautifully arranged and through all of it is Denhert's wonderful voice."

Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz will be available at retail and online outlets as well as at MotИma Music's newly launched online store. In addition, a key Italian retailer was so enchanted by an early listen to the CD that plans are now in the works to make it available on audiophile quality vinyl.





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