Barbara Dennerlein (born 25 September 1964 in Munich, Germany), is a hard bop and post-bop Hammond B3 organist whose 1980s recordings helped to revive interest in the Hammond organ.
At age 11, Dennerlein began playing electronic organ. After starting organ lessons, she learned to play the two manual organ with a bass pedalboard. After one and a half years of lessons she continued to study without formal instruction. At age 15, she played in a jazz club for the first time. When leading her own bands, Dennerlein was often the youngest musician in the group, and she learned to cooperate with more experienced musicians. Her local reputation as the "Organ tornado from Munich" spread after her first TV appearances in 1982.
When her third LP "Bebab" was issued, Dennerlein established her own record label in 1985. She received the German jazz critics award. Next, she did three recordings on ENJA and three on the international jazz label VERVE. On these recordings she worked with Ray Anderson, Randy Brecker, Dennis Chambers, Roy Hargrove, Mitch Watkins, and Jeff 'Tain'
Dennerlein's performances on the Hammond organ include solo performances as well as quintets (e.g. her "Bebab" band). She has MIDI interfaces and triggers built into pedals and manuals of her Hammond B-3 organ, which allows her to add synthesizers and samplers to her sound.
After a variety of projects and after playing with renowned unconventional musicians, such as Friedrich Gulda, Dennerlein started playing the pipe organ in 1994. In 2002, she recorded a jazz album on church organ. Since 2003 she has also developed jazz projects with symphonic orchestras.
Dennerlein's first album included four of her own titles. Her compositions vary from traditional blues schemes, romantic, melancholic ballads to tempo driven compositions with elements of swing, bebop, funk and Latin rhythms. The fast tempos and rhythmic figures she uses in her interpretations of well-known standards, and in many of her own compositions, requires fast bass pedalboard foot work . Dennerlein often uses changing meter (e.g., 3/4 to 4/4), as well as unconventional harmonic changes to add expression to her compositions.
1995: "German Record Critics Award" ("Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik") for "Take Off"
1995: "Jazz Award" for "Take Off" for holding the number one position in the German Jazz Charts for several months and for being best selling Jazz Album of the year in Germany
1983: Jazz Live
1986: Days Of Wine And Roses
1987: Tribute To Charlie
1988: Straight Ahead! and Barbara Dennerlein Plays Classics
1989: Live On Tour
1990: Hot Stuff and Barbara Dennerlein Duo (Bootleg)
1991: (Friedrich Gulda) Mozart No End
1992: That's Me and Solo
1995: Take Off!
2001: Love Letters
2002: Spiritual Movement No.1 (Church organ recording)
2004: In A Silent Mood
2005: It's Magic
2006: The Best Of Barbara Dennerlein
2007: Change Of Pace (with Philharmonic Orchestra)
2008: Spiritual Movement No. 2 (live at Kaiser William Memorial Church in Berlin)
Barbara Dennerlein, Hammond B3 Organ. Dennis Chambers, Drums. Andy Sheppard, Sax. Mitch Watkins, Guitar.