Munich-born Barbara Dennerlein is one of the world's top jazz organists. A five-time winner of Downbeat's TDWR (Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition) Award, Dennerlein has received the prestigious German Critics' Award three times. In addition to recording as a soloist, Dennerlein has performed and recorded with Ray Anderson, Bob Berg, Dennis Chambers, Klaus Doldinger, Dusko Goykovich, Friedrich Gulda, Sal Nistico, Andy Sheppard, Jimmy Smith, Joe Zawinul, and Attila Zoller and has been featured on recordings by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, and the SFB String Orchestra of Berlin.
Dennerlein has consistently sought new approaches to the Hammond B3 organ, enhancing the sound of the instrument (via MIDI) with samplers and synthesizers. She continues to use foot pedals to play authentic-sounding bass lines.
Receiving her first organ at the age of 11 as a Christmas gift, Dennerlein was playing regularly in German jazz clubs within four years. She became a professional musician after graduating from high school.
Recording on her own Bebab label, Dennerlein released her debut album, Orgelspiele, in 1984. After releasing an additional four albums on Bebab and three on Enja, she signed with Verve in 1995. Her first album for the label, Take Off!, spent several months in the top position of the German jazz charts. Releasing two more albums — Junkanoo in 1996 and Outhipped in 2000 — for Verve, she returned to Bebab for her 12th album, Love Letters, a duo recording featuring Argentinean drummer Daniel Messina. ~ Craig Harris