Dena DeRose overcame a debilitating disease to become a significant force in jazz as both a pianist and a singer. She began playing piano when she was three and, in addition to her piano lessons, she studied classical organ and percussion. In school DeRose performed with the orchestra, the marching band, and the jazz band, and accompanied musicals. She took classes in classical piano at SUNY Binghamton and worked as a jazz pianist in upstate New York. But in the mid-'80s she was struck with a combination of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome that greatly affected her right hand. She had two operations and was unable to play piano at all for two years. It looked as if her musical career was over before it had really begun. But one night while in a jazz club with some friends, she took a dare to sing. DeRose did well and enjoyed the experience so much that within a few weeks she was booking herself as a singer. By the time she was becoming well known as a jazz vocalist, her hand had completely recovered and now she was a singer/pianist. In 1991, DeRose moved to New York City, where she began working the club circuit. Since then, she has also developed into a busy music educator but appears regularly at jazz festivals. In addition to leading her own trio, DeRose has worked with such major names as Randy Brecker, Bruce Forman, Ray Brown, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Houston Person, and Ken Peplowski. As a solo artist, DeRose made her debut in 1996 with Introducing Dena DeRose on Sharp Nine Records, followed by 1999's Another World, 2001's I Can See Clearly Now, and 2002's Love's Holiday. DeRose next moved to MaxJazz for several well-received albums, including 2005's A Walk in the Park and 2012's Travelin' Light. She then paid tribute to one of her idols, legendary pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn, with 2014's We Won't Forget You: An Homage to Shirley Horn on HighNote Records. In 2016, DeRose released her eighth studio album, United, featuring guest appearances from longtime associates trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and guitarist Peter Bernstein.
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