Karl Denson's Universe is not so Tiny

Former Twentynine Palms jazz musician headlines Joshua Tree Music Festival



Karl Denson's Tiny Universe headlines the the eighth annual Joshua Tree Music Festival, Oct. 11-13, at Joshua Tree Lake Campground.

Courtesy of Calabro Music Media

 

Karl Denson’s heroes range from James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone to John Coltrane.

Though he almost always plays jazz-funk infused numbers, he once penned a slow song, “Because of Her Beauty”, and he also once wrote a jazz ballet for the legendary jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

“I’m a jazz guy that likes dance music, and I think of jazz as dance music,” Denson says. “When I think of jazz, I think of Louie Armstrong or Jelly Roll Mortenson, and those guys played dance music or they didn’t get paid.”

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe headlines the eighth annual Joshua Tree Music Festival, Oct. 11-13,  at Joshua Tree Lake Campground.  

The Joshua Tree Music Festival occurs twice a year, once in May and again in October. The campground area becomes the home for a few hundred to a thousand people over the course of the weekend. Peaceful cohabitation finds guests eating organic food, hiking, checking out Kidsville, doing yoga, resting in the shade, and listening to music.

A former Twentynine Palms resident, Denson is eager to return to an area filled with childhood memories.

“I saw my first solar eclipse there and my first UFO afterwards,” he says. “Who knows though, I was only 3 or 4 years old…”

Lenny Kravitz was Denson’s first long-term boss in the music world. He was Kravitz’s vocalist and saxophone player from 1989-93. Denson reflects back over that time saying,  “I learned I wanted to be in my own band from that experience.”

Following his instincts, his first band collaboration became The Greyboy Allstars, which began in 1994, and still plays random gigs.

As if two bands aren’t enough, popular reggae band Slightly Stoopid has snagged Denson the last three years. He recorded on their latest album, “On Top Of The World”.

His touring schedule inspires new music constantly. A new tune was written recently while he was on the road back east.

“I got a new drummer and I was inspired,” says Denson, who promises to premiere “Look out for Millville” for fans at Joshua Tree.

Bands to watch at this weekend's music festival are:

• Colorado’s folk orchestral sensation Elephant Revival
Rolling Stone magazine darlings The Last Internationale
• Portland’s indie folk rocker Scott Pemberton and singer/songwriter Chris Pureka
• Coachella Valley’s own Spanglish jivin' group Machin
• Eclectic Dutch songstress trio Zazî
• San Diego’s melodic and fresh The Midnight Pine
• Didgeridoo sonic healing with Paula & Kurosh

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Robin Meade Lends Voice, Support to Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament Weekend

HLN Morning Express host Robin Meade will lend her vocals and a hand at the Fifth Annual Patrick Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament, March 5-8, in Palm Desert.

Matthew Shepard Film Screens at Camelot Theatres

Through the film, “Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine,” Michele Josue has found a way to share the real Matthew Shepard with audiences beyond the attention his horrific death brought to hate crimes and LGBT rights.

Molly Ringwald Shows Her Singing Self at Copa Palm Springs

Molly Ringwald is best known from her starring role in 80s films like "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club," but it is her talents as a jazz vocalist that people are starting to recognize.

Melissa Etheridge Brings New Album Songs to Fantasy Springs Show

Retirement is not a word in Melissa Etheridge's vocabulary after being in the music business 25 years. Her recently released 12th album, "This is M.E.," is an anthem to new rock ‘n’ roll independence.

Author Ivor Davis Speaks on The Beatles 1964 Tour at Melvyn's

Author Ivor Davis has one walrus of a tale to pass on after the now Palm Desert resident had the unique opportunity to travel with The Beatles on their first American tour almost 50 years ago.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags