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Dena DeRose: So Much Grace, So Much Love

"A special way of connecting"

Dena DeRose

During her brief trio set at Philadelphia’s inaugural OutBeat Jazz Festival in September, Dena DeRose performed a moving rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that seemed to resonate strongly with the small but enthusiastic crowd. The song’s message of peace and acceptance may have been particularly relevant on this occasion (billed as “America’s First Queer Jazz Festival”), but the audience’s emotional response was typical of DeRose’s performances, according to her longtime drummer Matt Wilson.

“Dena has a really special way of connecting to people,” Wilson said a few hours earlier. “She’s real. Honesty and clarity is what we want, and she offers that with so much grace and so much love.”

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