From Alice Coltrane to Bjork, Karl Denson talks about his musical evolution - Reverb

Long and Winding Road: Karl Denson

Do you remember your first record? Your first concert? Your favorite artist from when you were that pizza face in sixth grade? Well this isn’t about that. This Long and Winding Road is about three artists/records that influenced you over the years –- you as a musician, saxophone virtuoso Karl Denson. So let’s talk about your road.

“We average at least three times a year in Colorado, and last year I was there more than that. We did Halloween there and some festivals over the summer. Colorado is definitely a place I’ve learned to appreciate and love – and I know my way around now.”

14 years old

“Alice Coltrane’s record, ‘Journey to Satchidananda’ was one of those records that, when I heard it, I teared up. It did it. I don’t know what it was about it, but that was a very important record for me –- emotionally as an artist. It connected me to something I’ve strived to connect my audience with from that point on. I remember bringing it home from the record store and when it started, I went, ‘Whoa.’ ”

21 years old

“ ‘Talking Heads 77’ with ‘Psycho Killer.’ It was cool. That was a very cool record. I always thought of David Byrne being a cool guy, and the way he made music made sense to me –- that that music would come out of a guy like him.”

54 years old

“Bjork. I just like her as an artist. She’s inspirational to me –- what she does, what she tries to do, and the fact that she takes so many chances.”

Denson will play the Boulder Theater with Kyle Hollingsworth, George Porter Jr. and others at the 17th annual Mountain Sun Funky Good Times party on Jan. 29. Denson’s other band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, will co-headline the Ogden Theatre with Public Enemy on Feb. 19.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and co-editor of Reverb and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.