Denny Morouse Has Played and/or Recorded with:
STEVIE WONDER - ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS - RAY BARRETTO - ETTA JAMES - JAMES TAYLOR - ASTRUD GILBERTO - OTIS RUSH - AEROSMITH - BUDDY MILES - MICHAEL BOLTON - MICHAEL JACKSON - DIANA ROSS - THE JACKSON FIVE - THE SUPREMES - LUTHER VANDROSS - JOHN PRINE - GRANT GREEN SR. and GRANT GREEN JR. - MAX ROACH - TAJ MAHAL - BILLY PRESTON - JACK McDUFF - MICHAEL BRECKER - RANDY BRECKER - DAVE MASON - PHYLLIS HYMAN - NONA HENDRYX - LINDA CLIFFORD - BERNARD ‘PRETTY’ PURDIE - EUMIR DEODATO - and legendary Modern organist LARRY YOUNG
Denny Morouse is a Virtuoso Saxophonist/Composer, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, into a musical family. He began his musical odyssey playing drums along with Pittsburgh's only r&b station, WAMO, at age six.
At age 12, he immersed himself into studying the alto saxophone with Keith Bertoluzzi and by age 14 he began playing professionally in the Pittsburgh area while continuing studies with Mr Bertoluzzi. At 18, he enrolled in Duquesne University’s Music School studying saxophone and music composition, and playing in Composer/Arranger/Saxophonist Ray DeFade’s award winning professional Jazz ensemble. While at Duquesne, Denny also played with pianist Joe Kennedy III's Quartet. After Duquesne, Denny worked with talented brothers Bill and George Heid.
Jazz Musician/Arranger/Composer Even In The Army
Denny was drafted during the Vietnam era. Because of his talent, he was assigned to play in the US Army Jazz Band in Washington, DC.
Listening to and Playing with the Masters
Denny's advanced education came from going to Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the African American Cultural Center, and sitting in on alto sax with Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers at the renowned Jazz club, The Crawford Grill. Denny also sat in with Horace Silver, Max Roach and Charles Earland.
Down the street from The Crawford Grill, on Center Avenue, was The Hurricane Lounge, which catered to Jazz Organists. At the Hurricane Lounge, Denny sat in with Larry Young, Jimmy Smith, Grant Green Sr and Jack McDuff. When not playing, Denny listened to performances by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson and any concerts featuring New York City musicians. Eventually Art Blakey asked Denny to tour with The Jazz Messengers, with Denny still playing alto sax as legendary tenor saxophonist Don Byas was in the band. Denny gravitated to New York City and toured with The Jazz Messengers. Later, at Art’s urging, Denny switched to tenor sax.
A true artist, Denny quickly won the respect of other musicians around the world. Denny began playing with Legendary Modern Organist Larry Young off and on in 1964. He lived with Young's family for a year, in Newark, New Jersey, playing at the Key Club and the Cadillac Club, and touring the U.S. Denny says of Young, “Amazing genius! Wow!”
In 1971, Denny moved to the Caribbean island of St Thomas, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, having received an offer from saxophonist Eric Kloss to sub for him for five months.
On St Thomas, Denny played with Kloss’ Pittsburgh-based trio, taught music in a public grade school, and joined a calypso/reggae band called ‘The Black Machine.’ “They were amazing Musicians”, Denny says, ”Talk about Grooves and Dancing! It was so much fun soloing forever on those Calypso grooves! They changed the band’s name to "The Black Machine Plus One".
Denny said, “Relaxing on St Thomas helped me find my “Center” before moving back to NYC”.
Joined Stevie Wonder
While on St Thomas, Denny met Boston guitarist Ralph Hammer, who later became one of Stevie Wonder’s guitarists. Denny moved back to New York City in February of 1972, continuing to play with Larry Young, Art Blakey, and the legendary Platters. In August of 1972, he was invited to audition for STEVIE WONDER. Thirty-seven saxophonists auditioned for Wonder and Wonderlove (Stevie's band). Wonder chose Denny as his new Saxophonist to replace both David Sanborn and Trevor Laurence.
Denny's first show of multiple tours with Stevie Wonder was John Lennon’s ’One to One Benefit Concert' in Madison Square Garden on Denny’s birthday, August 30th, 1972. While Stevie's "Superstition" was at the top of the Charts, Denny wrote and recorded the horn line for the single release of "Sunshine of My Life." Soon afterward, Stevie appointed Denny as his Band Leader, a position Denny held from 1972 through 1975. Click the VIDEO button below to see a clip of Denny playing with Stevie on the SESAME STREET TV program in 1972 - note, Denny had lots of hair then! This video has been viewed over half a million times on YouTube.
Denny Goes Solo
Denny will always cherish the experience of traveling the world and recording with STEVIE WONDER, one of the greatest musicians and people in the world. Yet the music was very structured and Jazz musicians need more space to stretch out! So Denny went solo.
After playing with Stevie, he was much in demand in NYC as a session player for films, TV, CDs, radio, and as a composer. Being a very prolific writer and wanting to perform his own compositions, he began forming his own bands and performing frequently in NYC venues like Mikell’s, The Bottom Line, The Bitter End and Seventh Avenue South, plus the popular Joyous Lake in Woodstock, NY. During this period Denny recorded his first solo CD, "It Snowed All Night". Denny toured in many U.S. cities, playing his original compositions. He also toured the Philippines in 1982, where he performed twice as Guest Artist with the Salsoul Orchestra. Denny has continued as a solo artist to the present day.
Great New York City Musicians Who Have Played in THE DENNY MOROUSE BAND or sat in on occasion:
MARCUS MILLER - MIKE STERN - STEVE JORDAN - KENNY KIRKLAND - ANTHONY JACKSON - ONAJE ALLAN GUMBS - STEVE GADD - RICHARD TEE - WILL LEE - DAVE KIKOSKI - JOHN PROPEA - DAVID SPINOZZA - HIRAM BULLOCK - BARRY FINNERTY - STEVE KHAN - CARLOS AL0MAR - CHRIS COLEMAN - JORGE DALTO - PAUL SHAFFER - BERNARD ‘PRETTY’ PURDIE - LINCOLN GOINES - FRANCISCO CENTENO - RUBENS BASSINI - STEVE THORNTON - LEON PENDARVIS - NILSON MATTA - HELIO ALVES - BUDDY WILLIAMS - RICHIE MORALES and DON GROLNICK. Many of these artists toured Europe and the US with Denny in the late '70's, 80's and 90's. Frequent visitors to Denny's shows who often sat in, included artists like RANDY BRECKER, DAVID SANBORN, CHAKA KHAN (as a vocalist and as a very funky drummer!) and JOE COCKER.
Volume of Work: TV, Movies, Broadway & More
Denny Morouse has played on a combined 400 albums and CDs, Broadway shows, movie and television scores, over 200 TV and radio commercials, and documentary and industrial
films and videos. He has also sometimes served as a composer and arranger.
Denny produced videos, wrote music and/or recorded music for a vast array of corporate clients ranging from the US Postal Service, IBM and Coca-Cola to Budweiser, Mercedes Benz, McDonalds and VISA.
Since going solo, Denny has built an amazing resume that includes performing on stage on Broadway in Smokey Joe's Cafe, a show featuring songs written by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. In the 1970’s, Denny also performed in the band for the live theater version of The Rocky Horror Show, starring Meat Loaf and Tim Burton.
Denny recorded on the movie soundtracks of ANIMAL HOUSE starring John Belushi, Kevin Bacon, Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson, FAME starring Irene Cara, and FLASH DANCE with Jennifer Beals.
Denny’s National Television Appearances Include:
NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE with CARLY SIMON - The LETTERMAN SHOW with CAROLE KING - all of the following with STEVIE WONDER: SESAME STREET - SOUL with Ellis Haslip - SOUL TRAIN with Don Cornelius - THE TONIGHT SHOW – several JERRY LEWIS TELETHONS - and more.
In addition to performing on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Denny also served as a musical arranger for the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE BAND on occasion.
Moved to Hawaii, Toured Europe and Asia
After witnessing the Twin Towers destruction from 60 yards away on 9/11, Denny moved immediately to Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, where he joined his daughter, Michelle, a gourmet whole foods chef. He intended to visit the islands for three weeks, but stayed for eight years. Denny headlined concerts on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands, toured Europe again in the summers of 2002 and 2004, and also toured in Asia (Shanghai, Bangkok, and Japan) in 2006.
To keep his chops up, and his spirit in the right place, Denny played every Friday and Saturday on the east side of Kauai at a small ‘joint’ called “Shaka Tacos”.
Every February from 2005 to 2009 Denny performed at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church for the yearly Jazz festival that also featured many artists from the U. S. mainland.
In May of 2007, Denny produced a concert at the KAUAI PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, featuring Randy Brecker, Italian tenor saxophonist Adda Rovatti, and himself. This was just four months after Michael Brecker's untimely death on January 17, 2007. The program featured music of Brecker and Morouse. The concert was a great success.
Using the lush greenery of Kauai, the 110 miles of white Sandy beach, and the blue of the sea, helped Denny to recover from most of the ‘post traumatic stress’ he experienced after 9/11. He became reinvigorated toward making new music.
He recorded part of the album “Paddy’s Lament” on Kauai (the rest in NYC in 2005) and wrote some of his best music as well as a Jazz Symphony and music for a Ballet while in the Islands.
Around 2008, Denny often played with visiting West African (Ghanean) Master jembe percussionist, Ernest Borketey. Denny and Ernest jammed at the beaches, and also performed at The Kauai Performing Arts Center.
Also while in Hawaii, Denny hosted his own weekly radio show, called “Anything’s Possible”, on KKCR, playing Jazz from the 1920’s through 2009, from Fats Waller and Willie the Lion Smith to Chick Corea and Pat Metheny but focusing on the last 30 years. Denny had free rein to play the music he chose and therefore served up a broad range including jazz, r&b, Latin Jazz, Brazilian Jazz, Cuban Music, West African Jazz and World Music. The show was streamed online and Denny frequently received email from listeners in Switzerland, France, Italy and Brazil as well as the U.S. mainland, especially his fans in NYC.
This was the beginning of a very prolific period for Denny.
Returned to the U.S. Mainland
In 2009, Denny left Kauai and toured the U.S. mainland until February of 2010, then settled in the center of the U.S., in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since then, Denny and the people of Oklahoma have developed a mutual affection for each other.
Denny has recorded three critically acclaimed CDs: "It Snowed All Night", "Ballads", and "Paddy's Lament", which is dedicated to a NYC firefighter friend Denny lost on 9/11.
Denny composed, arranged and produced all of the tracks on “It Snowed All Night”.
On "Paddy's Lament", Denny recorded six original tracks along with songs written by Wes Montgomery, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and the team of Ned Washington and Hoagy Carmichael.
Denny went back into the recording studio in NYC in October to record his new CD, "Love Is Calling". In addition, he is preparing to record a Gospel album with a full choir and a new Jazz album on which Denny will both play saxophone and sing.
Denny Morouse is an experienced band leader, has an intuitive gift for putting together exceptional musicians, displaying amazing musical feeling, energy, passion, sweetness, and powerful spiritual soulful expressions. Denny says, “If we (the musicians) don’t get standing ovations or calls for encores after a performance we haven’t done our job!” .... “We must always dig deep into our soul and bone marrow and give it up.”
"IT SNOWED ALL NIGHT”
"DANCING WITH YOU AFTER YOU'VE GONE" - This is Denny's new CD and will be released this spring.
“I play and create music because I have to, not because I want to. There is an inner voice grinding inside of me. I have to pay attention and create to silence the Voice. I have to let the music flow through me as it comes from a higher source” - Denny Morouse