DENINZONEWS SPRING/SUMMER 2019
All the news that’s fit to print about violinist/singer/mandolinist/composer/arranger Joe Deninzon
First of all, I owe you a heartfelt apology. I’ve been diligent about putting out these newsletters on a quarterly basis. For the first time in a LONG time, I forgot to send out the spring newsletter, and for that I am really really really sorry!
It’s not like I’ve been slacking or anything. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
In February, I got to perform for the first time on the worlds premier prog rock cruise, Cruise to the Edge. I joined keyboardist/producer Dave Kerzner to perform with his project, In Continuum. The group is a spin-off of Sound of Contact, a band he formed with Phil Collin’s son Simon back in 2014. I was honored to appear on In Continuum’s debut album, “Acceleration Theory” (highly highly recommended!!)
The band featured the legendary Marco Minnemann-drums (Aristocrats, Joe Satriani), Randy McStine (Stu Hamm, Rabben Ford, The Fringe) and Fernando Perdomo-guitar (Jacob Dylan), Matt Dorsey-bass (Sound of Contact), with guest vocalists Lorelei and Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd), Jon Davison (Yes), Michael Sadler (Saga), Leticia Wolf on vocals as the alien, and special guest guitarist Steve Hackett (Genesis). Whew! By far one of the greatest experiences of my life!
Then, it was off to San Antonio, TX, where I did a 2-day teaching/performing residency with the wonderful kids at Northside and John Jay Schools. Thank you to Heather Newmann Gonzales, Angelica Guerra, Deb Wyant, Mark Wood/Laura Kaye and the Electrify Your Strings Organization.
Late February, Stratospheerius performed with the North Brunswick, NJ HS ORchestra, under the direction of Arvin Gopal. This was our first time as a band performing with a full string orchestra. I am grateful to Arvin for inviting us and putting this whole concert together. The band consisted of Jason Gianni on drums, Paul Ranieri on bass and Aurelien Budynek on guitar. Watch the full concert HERE:
On Feb 28th, my friend, prof Rudolf Hacken, who is a professor of violin and viola at University of Champagne Urbana and the creator of the first ever dedicated electric string major in any university on the planet, performed my 30-minute Electric Violin Concerto, “Dream Diary!”
You can listen to his performance and follow the score HERE:
March kicked off with a performance at Rose Hall/Jazz at Lincoln Center with the great Kurt Elling with his incredible band and an all-star string section, alongside the legendary Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ben Vereen. The show was a radio show-style jazz oratorio called “The Big Blind,” based on the life of legendary Chicago singer/comedian John Lewis.
Then, it was off to Albequerque, NM for the American String Teachers National Conference. Once again, I gave my workshop on “How to Read Chord Charts and Lead Sheets for String Players,” a skill that I feel is sorely lacking in the string world. It was an epic hang with all the titans of the alternative string universe, which culminated in a huge jam on Black Sabbath’s Paranoid led by the renowned Rachel Barton Pine. Heres a clip with Mark Wood, Mark & Maggie O’Connor, Matt Bell, Ross Holmes, Andy Reiner, Renata Bratt, Rudolf Hacken, Duane Padilla, Martha Mooke, David Wallace, Chuck Bontrager, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Tracy Silverman, Earl Maneein, and more!
On March 21st, I realized a dream I’ve had for a long time; to create a night featuring bands led by creative string players. The first (and definitely NOT last) STRINGFEST took place at DROM in NYC and featured Stratospheerius, Mazz Muse, 2birds Band, and Seven)Suns. I hope to do this again in the fall, featuring different bands at each show, and possibly take it outside of NY!! Stay tuned…
Here is Stratospheerius performing our cover of King Crimson’s “Frame by Frame”, with special guest Tobias Ralph (Adrien Belew) on drums:
I also had a chance to record and perform with one of my favorite bands, Thank You Scientist, for their new album Terraformer. Thanks to my buddy, the badass violinist Ben Karas for inviting me to play. Pre-order the new album HERE.
In early May, I returned to Highland Schools in Medina, OH for another teaching and performing residency. Thank you to my good friend Rachel Martin Gamin and the incredible job she has done building up the orchestra program there!
Oh yeah… and on May 13th, I played with the Who at Madison Square Garden as part of a 49-piece orchestra! It was great to reconnect with my friend and former student, Katie Jacoby, who got to play the iconic violin solo at the end of Baba O’Riley!
Saturday, July 13th 4 P.M.
Joe Deninzon Teaching/performing residency for Vance Music.
2000 N. Maize Rd. Wichita, KS.
OCTOBER 11TH-13TH, STRATOSPHEERIUS PERFORMS ON THE MAIN STAGE AT PROGSTOCK 3!
UNION COUNTRY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. RAHWAY, NJ
I get pegged as a prog guy, a fusion guy, a jazz guy, a whatever guy, but I love writing songs with hooks. Last fall, my manager Anne Leighton sent me some lyrics she wrote inspired by Muhammad Ali. The lyrical overtone speaks to our times, with recent controversies surrounding athletes protesting racism and injustice, and how we need a voice like Muhammad’s in this day and age because he never minced words and spoke the truth.
Anyway, I produced, wrote the music, played some keys, bass, guitar, and did some background vocals on this song. There are no strings on it.
We assembled an incredible cast to contribute to the track:
Thembeka Mnguni-lead vocals (runner up on The Voice South Africa).
Carmine Appice-drums (Vanilla Fudge, Jeff Beck, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart)
Engineered by Dale Wardell and myself.
Mixed by Alex Salzman (Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Stratospheerius)
Mastered by Fred Kevorkian (Maroon 5, Phish,White Stripes, and just about everyone else!)
Thank you to everyone who worked on ”The Greatest Lives.” Here are two versions; one with and without the rhythm section. Hope you dig it!
Joe Deninzon returns to Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp
For the 9th year in a row, I will be returning to teach and perform at Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp in Olathe, KS. This is the Camp’s’ 10th year, hence the title MWROCX!
To say this is a special week for me is an understatement. Mark Wood is a revolutionary. One of the greatest living electric violinists, the man who designed my 7-string Viper, and someone who turned string education on its head with his Electrify your Strings Programs! He created the first and only camp dedicated to electric string playing, but open to all ages and instruments. The kids who come here remind me of myself when I was a teenager, a misfit violinist who wanted to rock out. The difference is that back in my day, such a camp and a community didn’t exist. Us rock string nerds had to fend for ourselves. This is like the island of broken toys and the level of camaraderie, inspiration, love, and musical catharsis can not be put into words to those who never experienced MWROC. You just have to be there!
Joe Deninzon returns to Grand Canyon Music Festival to perform with Robert Bonfiglio/teach School of Rock
Hard to believe it’s been 20 years! Damn, I’m getting old. This place is a refuge for me. An endless source of inspiration and truly one of the most breathtaking places in the world! To perform and teach here is an honor and never gets old. Grand Canyon Village is a transient place. Over the years, I’ve made many lasting friendships with people who came live and work here for a while, then moved on. I have many great stories and memories that I hope to share someday.
Guitarist Steve Benson I will be doing our School of Rock Program with local kids from August 26-30th.
In Friday, August 30th, we will perform with renowned harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio, who co-founded the Grand Canyon Music Festival with his wife Clare Hoffman in 1983.
STRATOSPHEERIUS IS BACK IN THE STUDIO!
I am thrilled to announce that the new lineup of Stratospheerius went into the studio last week with our longtime friend/engineer Rave Tesar and broke ground on 4 new songs! This is the beginning of our 6th studio album, which we hope to have out next year! The new lineup is :
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