Telluride Jazz: Karl Denson & KDTU Back for Encore

Telluride Jazz: Karl Denson & KDTU Back for Encore

The Telluride Jazz Festival 2.0 boasts a robust and diverse artist lineup thanks to the new management group, Steve Gumble’s SBG Productions, which also programs Telluride Blues & Brews and the Durango Blues Train.

Passes and tickets to the Telluride Jazz Festival, are still on sale, including the Patron Experience, VIP Experience and general festival passes. Purchase them here now.

This year’s headliners include Bruce Hornsby, Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans – and Karl Denson & KDTU, Telluride regulars, returning for another encore.

Please scroll down for more on Karl Denson. And check out his podcast and Denson performing “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” with the Stones.

Karl Denson, just back from Rolling Stones tour, at Telluride Jazz 2018.

Let’s play a game of free association.

I say Rolling Stones. And you say?

Mick Jagger?

Keith Richards?

Or perhaps, if you are in the know, you respond with the name of the leader of one of the best live bands on the planet.

Jam to Jagger to (Telluride) Jazz. The alliteration adds up to one name, one man: Karl Denson,

Denson first joined The Stones in 2014 for shows in Australia and New Zealand. Recently he was on the Stones No Filter tour, where he performed across the continent from Dublin to Warsaw in his ongoing role as tenor saxophonist with the legendary rockers.

Back home since early July, Denson is on the road again, this time showcasing material from his long-awaited forthcoming studio album with Tiny Universe, as well as previously acclaimed KDTU recordings like New Ammo and The Bridge.

The current KDTU touring lineup is comprised of Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, former drummer of The Greyboy Allstars, Zak Najor and current bassist Chris Stillwell also of The Greyboy Allstars, Crush Effects’ keyboardist David Veith, Seattle trumpeter Chris Littlefield and ace slide and lap steel guitarist Seth Freeman.

No strangers to Telluride, Denson and his Tiny Universe are headliners at the Telluride Jazz Festival. They are scheduled for their local encore on Saturday night, August 4, 8 p.m. at the Main Stage in Telluride Town Park. Since 1998, this high octane music machine has played a funky jazz tailor-made for getting a groove on, so get ready to get down and shake a shoe.

(For funk virgins, the genre is a story written in black and blue: black jazz and blues roots.The African American musical mode initially cropped up during the tie-dyed 1960s with artist such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and The Meters. Funk was a key influence in the growth of disco, hip hop, and punk rock.)

A multi-faceted recording and performing artist, Karl Denson’s rise to funky jazz fame began in 1988, when he met Lenny Kravitz at a recording session.
After working together for a number of years, recording and touring, when Kravtiz bid adieu to his horns, Denson said adios to rock ‘n roll and began a jazz recording career in 1992.

One doors closed, another opened: the Kravtiz/Denson project known as the Greyboy All-Stars, (which defined the acid jazz movement of the early aughts) gave way to Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, the jam/groove phenom riding high on the shoulders of legends like James Brown, Maceo Parker and Parliament-Funkadelic.

Denson ratcheted up his act to the next level by putting greater emphasis on vocals and adding some funk, R&B and hip-hop elements into the mix. The winning combination placed KDTU at the top of the heap in the touring world.

“My style is based in dance” Denson shared. “I love the idea of creating something that naturally makes people want to move.”

KDTU has headlined and performed at festivals around the country and around the globe, including Bonnaroo, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Moscow Jazz Festival. Denson and his outfit have also made multiple appearances in Telluride at the Telluride Jazz Celebration, at Denise Mongan’s Club Red in Mountain Village and once for KOTO radio. And in between gigs in February of this year, Denson made a stop at the Telluride High School where, according to THS music teacher Tuck Gillett, he taught a master class in funk.

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