Karl Denson's Tiny Universe
Karl Denson has led a storied career as a multi-faceted recording and performing artist who first came to prominence as a member of Lenny Kravitz' band debuting on his first release, Let Love Rule, and staying on for the next five years. While developing a following overseas, he joined Fred Wesley's band, touring and recording with him on multiple releases. This led to five straight ahead jazz albums by Denson on Minor Music, the last of which was released to rave reviews and featured Karl in a trio setting with Miles Davis alumni Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. In 1993, Denson joined DJ Greyboy in creating Greyboy Records and released the legendary acid jazz staple, Freestylin. Out of that collaboration, Denson formed The Greyboy Allstars, which became world renowned as the ultimate groove band, spreading their "West Coast Boogaloo" style worldwide.
Denson took this formula to the next level by putting more emphasis on vocals and adding some funk, R&B and hip hop elements. It turned out to be a winning combination, which set KDTU on the top of the heap in the touring world from 1999 through 2005, selling over 250,000 records to date. "My style is based in dance" shares Denson. " I love the idea of creating something that naturally makes people want to move." KDTU has headlined and performed at US Festivals including Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, All Good Music Festival, Wakarusa Music Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and many more. Global festival appearances include the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, North Sea Jazz festival in Holland, Moscow Jazz Festival in Russia, East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Australia and the Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland. Karl Denson's Tiny Universe has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Jack Johnson, D'Angelo, James Brown, Dave Matthews Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Allman Brothers, Keene and Maroon 5.
Denson's latest release, Brother's Keeper, continues his artistic evolution fusing sounds from Rock to Funk to Afrobeat. Meshell Ndegeocello (bass) and Marc Ford (guitar, Black Crowes, Ben Harper) are just some of the special guests on the album. Denson notes, "I'm not one to live in the past. I am very much a forward thinker. Brother's Keeper is a continuation of my general worldview, which is that we should be loving each other, having fun and taking care of one another." He concludes, "This record is the culmination of all my life's work up until now."
Recorded at the famed Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana, BLACK EYE GALAXY was produced by Anders along with engineer Warren Riker and Galactic’s Stanton Moore. Sounds on the album range from heavy electric mayhem to joyous acoustic melodicism, lyrics move from the darkest depths to the healing power of love. Black Eye Galaxy is a personal record for Osborne, but one with universal themes.
The album is a journey of sorts, following the main character (based on Anders’ own life experiences) from the uncontrolled, primal chaos of "Send Me A Friend" to the inner peace of "Higher Ground." The disjointed and brutally honest "Mind Of A Junkie" leads into the warm and hopeful "Lean On Me/Believe In You." The gentle "When Will I See You Again?" finds Anders rebuilding broken relations, while the feral and confrontational "Black Tar" (co-written with Little Feat’s Paul Barrere) says farewell to a dark past. The final four songs — "Tracking My Roots," "Louisiana Gold," "Dancing In The Wind," and "Higher Ground" — bring an almost ecstatic tranquility after the intense stress and turbulence of the beginning of the album. From ultra-heavy and challenging to sweetly soul-soothing and melodic, Osborne’s guitar work, like his vocals, is simply mesmerizing. Black Eye Galaxy is a harrowing but ultimately uplifting cycle of richly detailed songs that are musically and lyrically thought-provoking, exhilarating and completely engaging.
In the studio and in concert, Anders channels the music throughout his entire body, becoming a whirling dervish of pure energy. BLURT says, “This is modern music at its transcendent best.” PASTE adds, “He is wildly diverse, thoughtful and raw.” With BLACK EYE GALAXY, Osborne’s star has exploded into the universe, fully formed and spinning freely in its own unique direction.