A unique singer-guitarist-songwriter, KJ Denhert calls her music “urban folk and jazz.” Her performances are eclectic, reaching out to many different types of audiences simultaneously without compromising her original music. She started on guitar when she was ten and soon began writing music. Completely self-taught, Denhart considers her main influences to be James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. She toured for six years in Europe as the lead guitarist and occasional singer with a rock and Top 40 band called Fire. After she moved to New York in 1997, she formed the NY Unit, a quartet that is still her main group. Denhart has recorded seven recordings to date on her Mother Cyclone label, including The Song Writer’s Notebook, Girl Like Me and Another Year Gone By. The seventh CD is called Lucky 7, a recording that can variously be described as funky, swinging, spirited, infectious, wistful-or all five. The jazz is heard in the solos and the guitar voicings, the urban reflects Denhart’s life, and the folk has to do with her inspirations as a songwriter. She frequently performs between 120-140 concerts and club dates a year. Denhert has appeared at Umbria Jazz on several occasions, she has performed at the 55 Bar in NYC regularly with her band since 1999, and she has won many songwriting contests while completely defying easy categorization. KJ Denhert has been very successful at forming her own appealing musical world.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.