Dave Richards’ Music Muse: Joe Deninzon Trio to jazz up the Jive on Saturday

Rock violinist Joe Deninzon will stop in Erie for a rare free performance to show off his jazz side project.

The Joe Deninzon Trio, which includes upright bass player Robert Bowen and guitarist Stephen Benson, will play at the Jive Coffee Shop, 1014 State St., on Saturday at 1 p.m. Sitting in will be Lucianna Padmore, Deninzon’s regular drummer in Stratospheerius.

“This is a group I’ve had on the back burner for many years,” said Deninzon. “But I’ve been recording music over the last seven years, and it’s finally culminated in the CD we’re releasing, ‘Exuberance.’

“Basically, it shows the jazz acoustic side of what I do. Most people know me as an electric fusion player, but I’ve always loved playing jazz.”

Artists such as Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt inspired “Exuberance.”

“But we wanted to add our own twist to it,” added Deninzon. “So we decided to cover Alice in Chains, Radiohead, Steely Dan, and Frank Zappa, and bring in the rock element.

“We get together and take songs we know and just mess with them, seeing how we can change the rhythm, change the character, but still maintain the skeleton and spirit of the original song. It’s like a game you play.”

“Exuberance” also includes the pretty “Sun Goes Down,” an original that won for best jazz composition in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in 2006. The CD won’t hit stores until March 2, but Deninzon will have copies at the show.

Stratospheerius will release a new CD later in 2010 and hit the road. Deninzon is also completing an instructional book on electric violin for Mel Bay.