Solo Project
Barbara Dennerlein Duo
Barbara Dennerlein & Bebab
Jazz Meets Church Organ
Barbara Dennerlein & Big Band
Hammond Meets Orchestra
Dennerlein Presents

Two Ladies Of The Hammond Organ:
Barbara Dennerlein & Rhoda Scott

Barbara Dennerlein Meets
Ignatz Netzer & Thomas Scheytt

4285 organ pipes start to swing when Barbara Dennerlein swirls over the four manuals and 32 pedal keys of the Goll church organ with her hands and feet, treasured on her CD "Spiritual Movements No. 1". On her church organ tours around the world, the artists transfers her organ play in masterful manner to the "queens of musical instruments" while each one of them is an individual to be discovered. With jazz on the church organ Barbara Dennerlein covers new ground and is about to establish a new concert tradition.

Jazz Meets Church Organ - Barbara Dennerlein's CD "Spiritual Movement No.1"

An artist approaches the mighty church organ - with respect, with passion and with a prodigious enthusiasm for elaborate extemporisation - the essential quality which makes Jazz a constantly renewed and reinvigorated art form.

Barbara Dennerlein is well aware that her regular instrument, the Hammond organ, is a descendant of a sacred and formidably powerful forerunner, the mighty church organ. Weaving innovative patterns in jazz while including inspiration from the past, the Munich- based artist explores new instrumental terrain and generates a fresh and surprising quality in the melodies and sound qualities she produces from the queen of instruments.

"Spiritual Movement No. 1" is an intense and disciplined work and, notwithstanding the improvisational virtuosity, is very much an arranged and ordered performance. Unintimidated by this formidable instrument, Barbara Dennerlein is at all times in full command and covers the entire range of the great Goll-organ pipes at St. Martin in Memmingen.

The album consists of ten exciting original compositions created by Barbara Dennerlein specifically for church organ. It is not simply an experiment to transfer the Hammond B3 way of playing to the four mighty manuals of the Goll-organ nor the mere adaptation of jazz standards to an instrument with many more keys than the Hammond. Even with the cheerful swinging 1929 evergreen of "Ain't Misbehavin' " we discover an ingenuity in the sound production and technical resourcefulness which is only feasible on a church organ.

With her meticulous use of the special sound colours of the pipe organ, Barbara Dennerlein shows herself to be a true artist. The flowing variations of volume, tempi and rhythm of this 78-minute solo performance result in a vibrant and suspense-laden jazz session. On none of her CDs to date has Barbara Dennerlein's unique foot pedal been as much in evidence as it is on the 32 pedals of the Goll-organ, either as an essential, groove-creating background or as a solo offering.

In "Spiritual Movement No. 1", Barbara Dennerlein is working on a new concept of bringing Jazz to the church organ - a future-orientated project of which this splendid recording is just the beginning. The word "Spiritual" in the title represents the sacred element in instrumentation, manner of composing and playing; "Movement" means refusal to accept a standstill and No.1 indicates that this is a precursor to future projects of this kind, the product of a continuing development which will lead towards "Spiritual Movement No. 2".

From the "Queen of the Instruments" to the Queen of the Pipe Organ

With "Spiritual Movement No. 2" Barbara Dennerlein honors one of the most historically significant places in Germany, the Emperor William Memorial Church in Berlin. Built around 1900, destroyed and restored, this global icon of architectural history and dramatic symbol of Germany's reconstruction treasures a Schuke-Organ with four manuals, 63 registers, and 5000 pipes. After being modernized in 2005, it had Barbara Dennerlein at the console during a concert on December 16th, 2007.

So how do her six years of development sound on the largest of all instruments, the pipe organ? What has changed since "Spiritual Movement No. 1" in Barbara Dennerlein's indisputably unique artistry to make the powerful pipes, voluminous manuals, and weighty pedals more tractable for the turbulent syncopations of jazz?

"Spiritual Movement No. 2" reveals: No longer is she an artist seeking to conquer the "Queen of all Instruments." Rather, she is now the "Queen of the Pipe Organ" who deftly reigns over her instrument as a vital means for expressing her musical intentions. Consequently, Barbara Dennerlein's approach is audacious, unrestrained, and powerful - in other words, she's a jazz musician who's always comfortable laying down some furious music - even in church.

It's understood that behind the music of "Spiritual Movement No. 2" there were days of meticulous effort spent on the registers of the Schuke-Organ and long nights devoted to practicing the pieces.

The result is, that, listening to the energetic pieces, one might think of a Hammond B3 in a jazz club. With her grandiose bass pedal play that she performes artistically on the wider spaced, heavier, and strength-zapping pedals of the Schuke-Organ, Barbara Dennerlein has created an unrivaled and unique selling point within the entire world of jazz.

With her music Barbara Dennerlein exhausts the instrument's possibilities. One piece is completely against the grain of pipe organ tradition, the next one employs the lush instrumentation of the organ to gain a phenomenal groove. Barbara's music means nothing less than transformimg 5000 organ pipes to a jazz instrument with no "ifs" "ands" or "buts." Finally, exquisite grandness, but always flavoured with the ingredients of jazz, even in Bach's quoted Toccata in d-moll.

Barbara Dennerlein's uncompromising pursuit of intensity, drive, and the intoxication of timbre are on display in her blues composition, "Farewell To Old Friends" as she takes things yet again to the next level. The main theme of this piece is provocatively slow and is built upon the foundation supplied by the bass pipes, whose mechanical wind noise can't be concealed, as an improvised thunderstorm of uncommon originality and speed gradually rises above it. It's a spectacular piece performed by an absolutely extraordinary talent.

To put it all together, "Spiritual Movement No. 2" allows one to discover how Barbara Dennerlein is unfolding of a luxuriant soundscape that invites the listener to marvel and explore. This CD comes with a promise, each time one listens to it he is apt to discover a new aspect of his own musical world.

Flash Video Clips

Trinitiy Wall Street Church, New York City, USA

Play this video

Vicelin Church, Neumuenster, Germany

Play this video