Review Fix chats with composer Charles Dennard, who lets us know why his latest release, Deep Blue, is a special one for him.
About Deep Blue:
The newest release by Charlie Dennard comprises seven original compositions by the outstanding keyboardist, composer, and arranger. The tunes on this album are a mix of New Orleans-style jazz and compositions with a darker hue, not unlike recordings on the ECM label, which have been major influences on Dennard’s composing and playing. His playing is subtle with a relaxed approach, which he credits to his teacher, the legendary Ellis Marsalis, with whom he studied for a Master’s Degree in Music at the University of New Orleans.
Review Fix: What inspired Deep Blue?
Charles Dennard: Basically I had a 3 month break last year between contracts with Cirque so I decided to use that opportunity to finish a few tunes that I had been working on over the years and force myself to complete this creative project of all original material. I think it’s kind of obvious musically that New Orleans (especially Ellis Marsalis) and the ECM record label inspired a significant portion of my musical endeavors on this project too…
Review Fix: Major life lessons learned?
Dennard: That the business model for making records is not a good investment from a financial perspective… Not many people are buying music anymore so it’s more for exposure than anything else. That being said, I’m still glad to have made it (mostly for archive purposes) and that it’s getting played and appreciated by a few. I think there’s been a lot of gratitude for all of my musician friends who contributed and participated as well so that’s always better than money or material matters…
Review Fix: How this made me a better musician?
Dennard: Definitely helped to give me a little more confidence regarding my own composition and production skills. I’m still surprised by how well it has done on the JazzWeek charts and all of the really good reviews so far! I think each time you go through this process you (hopefully) learn a little and continue to improve. Memorizing and arranging most of these songs was a bit of a challenge (musically) so I definitely feel like it was a step in a positive direction for me to have completed this step.
Review Fix: How do I want it to be remembered?
Dennard: As a really good record with really nice compositions and production…
Review Fix: How will it contribute to my musical legacy?
Dennard: That I am still improving and that (as a composer and keyboardist) I am developing more of a unique sound that is my own and comes from my major influences.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Dennard: I’m already about half way done with composing the songs for the next recording. This one will be a mix of small orchestral instruments with some ambient electronic sounds along with an acoustic jazz trio foundation… Seriously considering adding some guest vocalists as well. It will definitely be interesting.
Review Fix: Anything else?
Dennard: Still on tour for the rest of the year with Cirque (Totem) in Europe so will be back and forth a good bit from there to home in New Orleans. Please check my website and the PR material from Holly for any other info about Deep Blue that you may find helpful and/or pertinent.