Alex Blaze

Possibly queer music Friday - KJ Denhert live album review

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 09, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: jazz, kj denhert, live album, queer music, review

This is "out" artist KJ Denhert.

Her publicist sent me an album to review and said she was an "out" artist and didn't reply to my emails asking what that meant (lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, genderqueer...). I couldn't find any reference to her sexual orientation or gender identity on the internet, except for a few other media outlets repeating the "out artist" line.

So I put the review after the jump because I had already written it up.

KJ Denhert
Dal Vivo a Umbria Jazz
Motema Music, 2008

KJ Denhert's recent live release, Dal Vivo a Umbrio Jazz, tries to and succeeds in creating a cool modern jazz club mood. Sophisticated and smooth, but not at all smarmy, this live recording comes with all the modern jazz accouterments: a slow piano, distorted guitars, strong bass guitar, and a trumpet. Yes, there is a lot of trumpet.

Denhert's strength is her technical skill - extended instrumentals within and at the end of each track are the most interesting parts of the album. The arrangements stay true to jazz convention, giving the album a sense of mathematical complexity that's refreshing and easy to listen to.

She's a talented singer - her voice sounds like a mellower Melissa Etheridge, or a smoother Elton John. The instrumentals, though, do provide some relief from the song's lyrics, which, at times, are tiring and cringe-worthy if you're not ready for some of her pronouncements ("I wish I could fly like a bird on the wing," "Blown by the four winds to the seven seas").

Overall, great album. It makes me think of wine-tasting tours or cocktail parties, light and refreshing. It's either for that set or for jazz aficionados.

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I like jazz. Let me listen to the album. I'd imagine I'd like it.