-“This woman can make you dream, cry, and fall in love. What more could you desire…” (The Music Advocate, Washington)
-“Quite simply, Denise Jannah is one of the best jazz singers to come along in the 25 years I’ve been writing about music.”
(Award winning jazz author and critic Gary Giddins in the New York ‘Village Voice’)
Born in Suriname, South America and residing in The Netherlands, Denise Jannah has made her mark in the international Jazz scene. Renowned for her stage presence, her rich voice, impeccable phrasing, diction and timing, she is also admired for her warm personality that makes her audience feel like special guests in her comfortable living room. So far she has graced the stage in 31 countries, be it with her own Denise Jannah Quartet or as a featured guest with a great number of orchestras and ensembles.
Jannah is a Jazz vocalist who doesn’t shy away from other musical styles as Latin, Gospel, Fusion, R&B, Surinamese- and World music. Being multilingual, easily moving and grooving in different styles is her forte. She’s always looking for a new challenge to widen her artistic horizon, and therein claims her artistic freedom.
She has 9 solo albums to her name of which 4 have been released on the prestigious U.S. Blue Note label, she recorded a vinyl album ‘Lost & Found’ together with renowned Japanese pianist Atzko Kohashi and has been featured as guest vocalist on various albums from a.o. the Willem Breuker Kollektief, the Amsterdam Jazz Sextet, the Gypsy Boys and trumpeter Gidon Nunes Vas. She has received numerous awards among which are two Edison Awards (Dutch equivalent to the US Grammy Award).
Denise Jannah has shared the stage with a variety of ensembles and orchestra’s, from the Rosenberg trio and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (USA) to the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, from the Willem Breuker Kollektief and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra to the Royal Dutch Marine Orchestra, from the Bob Belden Big Band (USA) and the Cyrus Chestnut Trio (USA) to the Suriname Police Orchestra.
She toured and performed in countries like Japan, Chili, The Caribbean, Indonesia, South Africa, Taiwan, the USA, Montenegro, Croatia, Azerbaijan…just to name a few of the 31 where she has performed so far.
Denise Jannah is a talented composer, known also for composing music for poetry. On her album ‘Gedicht Gezongen’ (=Poetry Sung, ‘04) she sings 22 poems in 6 languages, all compositions are her own. She has furthermore made her mark as a lyricist, actress, voice educator and musical director/theatre coach, for some productions she wrote part of the songs.
As an actress she starred in several musicals and theatre shows, and she was one of the leading ladies of A Night At The Cotton Club and in Fats Waller’s musical show Ain’t Misbehavin’. She has toured The Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname with her one woman theatre play ELLA! in which she portrayed the legendary Ella Fitzgerald. Currently she still performs her Mahalia Jackson Gospel Tribute as well as her Denise Jannah Soul & Blues concert. Denise is also part of the all-female international cast of DEAR WINNIE,
a big Belgian/Dutch theatre production about the legacy of Winnie Madikizela Mandela. So far the play has been performed in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, and will be picked up again internationally in season ‘23/’24, after a stop caused by the covid pandemic. In the fall of ’22 she portrayed the Trojan Queen Hekabe in the theatre play ATROPA, the Revenge of Peace.
Denise Jannah has performed for heads of states, amongst whom are former presidents Nelson Mandela and Mrs. Graça Machel-Mandela, Her Royal Majesty Beatrix, Queen of Holland and His Royal Majesty Prince Claus, Bill and Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Ronald and Mrs. Liesbeth Venetiaan (Suriname), Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) and mrs. Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson (Liberia), and the ‘Eurotop’.
Both president Venetiaan (2005) and H.R.M. Queen Beatrix (2009) have decorated her.
-“Jannah’s voice is fine – rich, certain and teeming with a candor undiminished by the artifice of record-making.”
(Down Beat, USA)
-“If you’re having trouble keeping track of the score of female singers swamping the current jazz scene, let me save you some
trouble: Denise Jannah is worth your time.” (Detroit Free Press, USA)
-“Her voice is so direct, the delivery so fresh and clear that she will surely withstand the test of time.” (Jazz Times, USA)