Her name alone is synonymous with jazz class and style. She is graceful and poised and you feel that voice, the diction is precise. her musical colors are magnificent. Denyse is a native of Washington, DC who was nurtured in the jazz tradition at a very early age. Her father, Colon was an accomplished singer in the style of Nat King Cole. Her mother, Pauline deserves much of the credit for Denyse's inspiration to follow her music dreams. With Denyse at her side, Mom took her to countless star-studded evenings of music at the famed Howard Theater. The family later moved to New Orleans, LA where jazz music became her steady diet starting in public schools as she played the coronet and flute.
Denyse attended Xavier University in New Orleans, and is a graduate of Howard University and the University of Maryland. She continued her musical studies privately with Roosevelt Jackson who encouraged her to stay in the jazz idiom. He introduced her to the public in many performances for the Washington Hospital Center community. She enrolled in the Jazz Piano Vocal Workshop at the University led by Ron Elliston and Ronnie Wells and accompanied Ronnie on a European tour to Amsterdam, France, Switzerland, and Norway where she got a taste of performing to audiences abroad. A cameo appearance in the film documentary of jazz vocalists Magic in Moment followed. Shortly afterwards, Denyse studied with University of District of Columbia (UDC) educator renowned trombonist, and Director of the UDC Jazz Ensemble Calvin Jones who aptly nicknamed her "Ms. Finewine" for her smooth and sweet vocal style.
Denyse has worked with many groups over the years and made appearances at varied venues such as Fort Dupont Park, One Step Down, Moore's Love and Peace, Mr. Y's, Lenny's, Trumpet's, Charlie Byrd's Georgetown club, Blues Alley, Jazz Night at Westminster, Carnegie Library, and aboard the USS Norway North Sea jazz cruise. Notable career highlights include performing with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra at President Bush's Inaugural Ball and being invited to the stage at Catalina's Bar & Grill in Los Angeles by jazz icon, Joe Williams. In 1989, Denyse released her first self-produced effort entitled "For The Love of It". Jazz great, Shirley Horn and local radio took note. Denyse relishes performances on stages shared with jazz ancestors such as Nap Turner, Mary Jefferson, Keter Betts, and Major Holley. In 2010, her most recent recording Something Blue, Something New was released to coincide with a jazz concert billed by the same name. Carrying on the jazz tradition, Denyse continues performing the great jazz standard and also composes original songs. Like fine wine, distinctive, smooth, and sweet Denyse Pearson is a voice and talent you will not soon forget.
Densye is a playwright and has had two of her plays produced to theater audiences in Washington and in Maryland. "Room at the Table" ran for twelve show and "To Have and to Hold" was presented at the Studio Theater. She was a member of the Black Women's Playwrights (BWP) group for about ten years and she not only wrote plays or short pieces but also performed at the Studio Theater with breakout original music for the evening theater presentations. Her memorable BWP musical themes like "The Playwright" lyrics by Caleen Jennings or "Black Magic Woman" and "The Spice of Life" showcased her jazz-spirited musical talents to theater audiences in the metropolitan area. Switching professional hats, Denyse has served as musical director for several theater productions of the Serenity Players productions of This Joy, Paul Robeson, and Harriet (Tubman). Her arrangement of "Wade In the Water" was a standout. For the production of City of Lost Angels, Denyse composed music for two of the shows songs: "Have You Seen My Child" and "How Did We Get Here". She stepped out on the stage as a singer/actor in the production of "Spirits of Fire" in Washington and New York.
Voice Over Talent
A member of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists for over twenty years, her on-air personality is Dee Williams. Her equally distinctive speaking voice has been heard on local radio overnights on MAJIC 102.3, and on WOL's weekly programs It's the Law and Mortgage America Bankers. She has also been heard on national political commercials for then candidate Barack Obama, and several local commercials. Since 2004, she has been the live announcer for the Zora Neale Hurston Richard Wright Foundation and is known as the "voice of the foundation." You might hear this versatile and increasingly more sought after voice performer just about anywhere live or recorded.