Debbie Denke – The Key Player
Debbie Denke is a classically trained pianist with a passion for jazz and is a dedicated music educator – known for her signature style of Inspirational Jazz Piano (jazz/church/gospel genres). Her instructional books, blogs, and music videos are designed to easily unlock the mysteries of keyboard improvisation.
Her father and mentor Frank Denke helped Debbie get her first professional jobs playing piano and organ in San Francisco Bay Area churches when she was 15. During her college years, Ms. Denke studied piano classics by day and played jazz piano in coffee houses and clubs by night. She holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Piano Performance from the University of California Santa Barbara. Today Debbie specializes in teaching improvisation, jazz theory, and composition. Ms. Denke is the author of several books on keyboard improvisation and piano arranging. She concertizes as a solo and ensemble jazz pianist, singer, gospel choir accompanist, recording artist, and church musician. She released 2 albums in 2017: A jazz piano standards album, It’s All About You! , and her meditative spiritual album of hymns and originals Peace Prayer had its first time worldwide digital release. Future plans include recording works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and other classic composers adding original jazz twists – plus a new album of arrangements and improvisations upon traditional hymns and spirituals.
Debbie Denke lives in Santa Barbara with her musician husband Robert Kim Collins (bassist, vocal director, jazz educator, composer, voice artist). Their daughters Melody and Madeline are young adult women involved in Pilates coaching and dance performance, international studies with a human rights emphasis, from the California coast to South Korea and back again!