OA2 Artist

Mike Denny

Denny makes the invention of graceful, logical, swinging ideas sound effortless.

February 1, 1959 - October 7, 2023

Originally from Eugene, OR, Mike Denny was a dedicated jazz guitarist from the age of 13. By the time he was in High School, he was performing around Oregon with some commanding figures including Nancy King, Sonny King, Jim Pepper, and Ghanaian master drummer Obo Addy, with whom he recorded two albums in the 1980s.

After lending his blues-rooted guitar stylings to the jazz scenes of New York City, Washington, D.C., Denver, Portland, Paris, and Barcelona for many years, Denny returned to his Oregon roots to complete his MA in Music History at the University of Oregon. His research interests included Mississippi blues performance practice, traditional New Orleans jazz, and traditional folk music of Appalachia.

He received his BA in Music History and Theory from City College of New York in 1992, and his MA in Music History from the University of Oregon in 1995. Denny was an instructor of jazz guitar on the UO faculty from 1995 until his retirement in 2021, and at Lane Community College since 1994. Denny also worked as a clinician for jazz events and master classes at the University of Oregon and other institutions.

Denny's professional associations included performances with Mary Wells, Della Reese, Eartha Kitt, Buddy Miles, Clarence Wheeler, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Carol Kaye, Larry Goldings, Joe Magnarelli, and Paul Bollenback. Denny appeared with the Eugene Symphony under Marin Alsop, performing in Leonard Bernstein's Mass. He performed for several seasons with the Oregon Festival of American Music under the leadership of Dick Hyman, with musicians including Ken Peplowski, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and many others.

Denny recorded two 1997 albums for Origin Records: "Now...Here...This," a collective quartet with tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop, and "Looking In" a solo guitar recording. Both recordings have been favorably reviewed in Cadence, Victory Music Review, and Just Jazz Guitar.

In 2007, Denny recorded both a duo CD with Cuban-American vocalist Jessie Marquez (Get The Feeling on the Denmarq label) and Spot with Hammond B-3 master, Barney McClure on the OA2 label out of Seattle (favorably reviewed in Jazz Times magazine).

In 2013, Denny recorded with String Bassist Greg Nathan, ("I'll Think of Something" on the Soaring Music Publications label) favorably reviewed by All About Jazz, LA Jazz Scene Magazine, Cadence Magazine, and others.


Barney McClure Trio, featuring Mike Denny
OA2 Records 22036

Mike Denny
Origin 82360

Mike Denny Rick Mandyck Jeff Johnson John Bishop
Origin 82357

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