Dennis Rea

Born: July 7, 1957    Primary Instrument: Guitar

Dennis Rea

Dennis Rea's adventurous guitar playing blends modern jazz, creative rock, experimental music, and world musical traditions into an approach that is uniquely his own, embracing haunting lyricism, enigmatic textures, agile improvisation, and the raw dynamism of rock. He has performed widely in North America, Asia, and Europe and has led or been a key contributor to numerous innovative groups, including Moraine, Land, Stackpole, Savant, Earthstar, Identity Crisis, Iron Kim Style, Tempered Steel, Chekov, and Ting Bu Dong. He has performed or recorded with such prominent creative musicians as European free jazz legend Han Bennink, Chinese rock megastar Cui Jian, acclaimed French composer Hector Zazou, German electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze, trombone virtuoso Stuart Dempster, and jazz mainstay John Clayton, as well as members of King Crimson, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Ministry, and the Sun Ra Arkestra. He has collaborated with many of the most important figures in contemporary Chinese music and was one of the first Western musicians to record an album for the state-owned China Record Company. His activities have included film, theater, radio, and modern dance, and he has appeared on more than two-dozen recordings to date. He is also an accomplished author whose most recent work is the book Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan....
read more


Finalist, Best Guitarist, 2005 Seattle Weekly Music Awards; Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award, Best Northwest Outside Jazz Group, 2000, as leader of the improvising quartet Stackpole
”Dennis is a young, very talented musician who I think will develop into something quite interesting” - Stan Getz in 1979

“One of the most talented instrumentalists in the region, Rea has long distinguished himself in varied settings, creating a dynamic, lyrical, enigmatic blend of modern jazz, boundary- pushing rock, experimental music, and world music traditions. In Seattle, he has participated in some of the most impressive homegrown musical outfits, including the late 1990s juggernaut quartet Stackpole, with whom he won the 2000 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award for best Northwest 'outside jazz.'” - Earshot Jazz


“The first time I heard LAND guitarist Dennis Rea, he was playing the greatest phased guitar solo of all time on Earthstar's 1979 classic of Euro-electronica, French Skyline.” - The Wire (UK)


“It does for [traditional Chinese music] what Miles and Gil Evans did with Spanish music on Sketches of Spain, this time with Rea's guitar taking a prominent role and the musical ensemble providing an intricately enmeshed pastel sound quality filled with light and shadow. ... It is an achievement that has no real parallel in the music offerings out there lately. And it reconfirms that Dennis Rea is an important emergent figure on the music scene of today.” - Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar & Bass Blog

“...a profound work, essential and nuanced, to be seized with repeated plays” - La Luna Alfonso (Italy)


Review of Moraine's performance at NEARfest 2010: ”...probably the most genuinely progressive act featured on this year’s bill, delivering an immaculate performance bolstered by some distinctive video art ... their very original brand of avant-garde-tinged jazz-rock with loads of ethnic influences ... was often positively riveting.” - Raffaella Berry, The Progressor

“...with its combination of rock energy, chamber classicism, and sophisticated jazz harmonies, Manifest DeNsity is simply _good_ music - at times, great music - played by an unusually configured collective. Like a square peg and a round hole, Moraine defies reductionist categorization...” - John Kelman, All About Jazz

“[Moraine] morph the best of various musical worlds ... turbulent strings passages, thrusting rhythms, and jubilantly executed melody lines ... There's a lot to sink your mind's eye into here, but the ensemble equalizes the cerebral factors with hearty melodies and pumping jazz-rock grooves. ... A musical highlight for 2009, regardless of genre or rigid categorizations...” - Glenn Astarita, Jazz

“...Dark timbres, dense harmonic aggregations, and exotic melodies abound ... Rea's guitar work continually imbues the proceedings with splashes of color from his global grab bag of stylistic goodies - including liberal dashes of oriental intrigue.” - Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player

(4 stars) “Instrumental music that is passionate and emotional but complex, challenging, and abstract. ... [Moraine] incorporate elements of everything from Asian music to Middle Eastern/Arabic music to East European gypsy music - and those world music influences only add to Manifest Density's richness.” - Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

“Even more than the inspired solos it is the exotic melodies and crafty arrangements that make this band special. ... quirky, creative and filled with surprising twists and turns.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

“Incredible jazz chamber rock fusion ... Moraine will intrigue and energize the listener as they obliterate all boundaries. ... people looking for something new and different will enjoy this powerful and intelligent music.” - Brad Walseth,

(5/5 stars) “If Moraine is not the discovery of the year, it is only because they might be the discovery of the decade. ... it's pure instrumental music with an unusual sound, close to both the best examples of prog rock and the best examples of jazz-rock - oh, my friends, what the hell, it's just great!” - Jazz Russia

“Intelligently written, brilliantly executed, with gusto and just enough good sense. ... I can't find another band to compare them to - and that's huge. ... Oh, so rich. Bravo.” - Francois Couture (Canada)


“One of the best albums of the year ... The energy of this album is really unparalleled. And the consistency of the project is above all suspicion. Even old Miles would be very proud of these grandchildren based in Seattle.” - Mauritius Comandini, All About Jazz (Italy)

“That the entire content was composed on the spot is rather jarring: these gentz follow each other with almost shocking precision, alert to each others' subtlest cues and signs, cohesive while fully independent in each line and measure.” - Mark S. Tucker. Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

“Although this entire disc is improvised, it often doesn't sound that way. This is jazz/rock at its finest without any of that fusion excess.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery (NYC)

“For a fusion album that really is fusion, this is one of the best examples you'll hear in today's jazz-rock world.” - Dead Earnest (Scotland)

“jazz-rock with powerful, beautiful passages, which come from free improvisation. This is hard to believe.” - Discospat (Spain)

“Guitarist Dennis Rea has the kind of facility to play anything but the taste to pick his moment, and he slices through the proceedings here with just the right amount of bravado and presence” - Rob Hudson, (Australia)

As a Leader/Co-Leader

Views from Chicheng Precipice
MoonJune Records
Tracks: Three Views from Chicheng Precipice (after Bai Juyi); Tangabata; Kan Hai De Re Zi; Aviariations on "A Hundred Birds Serenade the Phoneix"; Bagua
Personnel: Dennis Rea: electric and resonator guitars, melodica, Naxi jaw harp, kalimba, dan bau (Vietnamese monochord); Alicia Allen: violin; Greg Campbell: drums, percussion; Ruth Davidson: cello; James DeJoie: bass flute, bamboo flute, bass clarinet; Caterina De Re: voice; Stuart Dempster: trombone, conch shell; Will Dowd: drums, percussion; Elizabeth Falconer: koto; John Falconer: shakuhachi; Jay Jaskot: drums; Paul Kikuchi: percussion; Kevin Millard: baliset.

Iron Kim Style
MoonJune Records
Tracks: Mean Streets of Pyongyang; Gibberish Falter; Po' Breef; Don Quixotic; Adrift; Amber Waves of Migraine; Pachinko Malice; Dreams From Our Dear Leader; Jack Out The Kims
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar; Thaddaeus Brophy: guitar; Bill Jones: trumpet; Ryan Berg: bass; Jay Jaskot: drums

Moraine: manifest deNsity
MoonJune Records
Tracks: Save the Yuppie Breeding Grounds; Ephebus Amoebus; Nacho Sunset; $9 Pay-Per-View Lifetime TV Movie; Manifest Density; Uncle Tang's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Disillusioned Avatar; Kuru; Revenge Grandmother; Staggerin'; Middlebrau
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar; Alicia Allen: violin; Ruth Davidson: cello; Jay Jaskot: drums; Kevin Millard: bass, baliset

Ting Bu Dong
Independent release
Tracks: Woozland; The Heimlich Maneuver; Kuru; Nacho Sunset*; Middlebrau
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar; Atze Ton: bass; Volker Wiedersheim: keyboards; Olli Klomp: drums; *Sebastian Osthold: Rhodes

LAND: Road Movies
First World Music
Tracks: Tyrone; Magnesium; Rink; Frolic; Winnebago Weekend; Vespa; Strife; Flagpole; Sauce
Personnel: Jeff Greinke: keyboards; Dennis Rea: guitar; Lesli Dalaba: trumpet; Fred Chalenor: bass; Bill Rieflin: drums

First World Music
Tracks: Wheelhouse; Catbird Seat; Ignis Fatuus (Marsh Lights); Krummholz; The Crocker Land Expedition; Spindrift; Polynya; Impasto
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar; Wally Shoup: alto saxophone; Geoff Harper: bass; Gregg Keplinger: drums

Free Touching: Live In Beijing At Keep In Touch
Noise Asia (2 CDs)
Tracks: Various improvisations
Personnel: Wang Yong: guzheng; Han Bennink: percussion; Dennis Rea: guitar; Andreas Schreiber: violin; Claudio Puntin: reeds; Steffen Schorn: reeds; Lesli Dalaba: trumpet

LAND: Archipelago
Tracks: Deep; Motility; Quake; Stream; Hill; Kata; Frame; Tell
Personnel: Jeff Greinke: keyboards, sounds; Dennis Rea: guitar; Lesli Dalaba: trumpet; George Soler: Stick; Greg Gilmore: drums, percussion; Bill Moyer: percussion; Ed Pias: percussion

Tracks: Caravan; Bustle; Nightnoise; Ku; Shu; Limba; Jacks; India
Personnel: Jeff Greinke: keyboards, sounds; Dennis Rea: guitar; Lesli Dalaba: trumpet; Ed Pias: percussion; Tari Nelson-Zagar: bass; Scott Granlund: saxophone

Dennis Rea: Shadow In Dreams
China Record Company
Tracks: Young Love; Chengdu Blues; Rainy Season; Hong Bo Qu; Hot Pot; Emei Shan; Clouded Leopard; Home Remedy; Fur Elise; Beehive; Dance Song Of The Yi People; Longing; Apercu
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar, synthesizer, drum programming; Yang Chenggang: piano; Zhao Xiong: 12-string guitar; Zhou Yi: classical guitar

As A Side Musician

Chekov: Remove Happiness From Your Goals
Independent release
Tracks: To Absent Friends
Personnel: Atze Ton: bass, programming; Dennis Rea: guitar; Gerd Mendel: guitar; Daniel Brates: drums

Eric Apoe & They: The Man In The Sun
Soundtrack Boulevard
Tracks: Sayonara, Jinx, The Spider And The Octopus
Personnel: Eric Apoe: voice, acoustic guitar; Dennis Rea: guitar; Alicia Allen: violin; Jim DeJoie: reeds; Damien Aitken: saxophone; Tige DeCoster: bass; Olli Klomp: drums; a.o.

Eric Apoe & They: Book Of Puzzles
Soundtrack Boulevard
Tracks: Russian Roulette; There's A Pill; Tinfoil Mardi Gras; Old Part Of Town; Bluebird; The Mind Control Waltz; Dark Side Of The Moon; Book Of Puzzles;
Personnel: Eric Apoe: voice, acoustic guitar; Dennis Rea: guitar; Alicia Allen: violin; Jim DeJoie: reeds; Damien Aitken: saxophone; Tige DeCoster: bass; Olli Klomp: drums; a.o.

Hector Zazou: Strong Currents
Materiali Sonori
Tracks: In The Middle Of The Night
Personnel: Hector Zazou: composer, keyboards; Dennis Rea: guitar; Lori Carson: voice; Bill Rieflin: drums; Renaud Pion: clarinet; a.o.; also features Laurie Anderson, Jane Birkin, Lisa Germano, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stefano Bollani, a.o.

Eric Apoe & They: Radioation
Soundtrack Boulevard
Tracks: The Bag; Romance; Rat-Ridden World; St. Louis, Can I Please Come Home?; They; Desiree; Funwrecker; Town Without Pity
Personnel: Eric Apoe: voice, acoustic guitar; Dennis Rea: guitar; a.o.

Eric Apoe & They: Dream Asylum
Soundtrack Boulevard
Tracks: Dream Asylum; On Moons In Paradise; Them Against Us; Where Do All The Dreams Go; Don't Go Out Tomorrow In The Rain; Techno Ghetto; Can I Tell You A Dream; I Wanna Be A Blank
Personnel: Eric Apoe: voice, acoustic guitar; Dennis Rea: guitar; Matt Cameron: drums, producer; a.o.

Owasso Night Atlas
Tracks: Tentacle Steel Mill Improvisation; Edge Trio
Personnel: Dennis Rea: guitar; Michael Monhart: saxophone; Paul Chuey: saxophone; a.o.

Rik Wright: Bleeding Laughter
Tracks: Emotional Slang
Personnel: Rik Wright: guitar; Dennis Rea: guitar; Toshi Makihara: percussion; a.o.

Craig Flory & Doug Haire: Wigwam Bendix
Franchise Records
Personnel: Craig Flory: reeds; Doug Haire: mix, production; Dennis Rea: guitar; Eric Amrine: guitar; Robert Jenkins: guitar; Lori Goldston: cello; Jeffrey McGrath: drums; Mike Stone: drums; also features Brent Arnold, Christian Asplund, Mike Bisio, Andrew Drury, Geoff Harper, Eyvind Kang, Wally Shoup, Skerik, Matthew Sperry, Hans Teuber, Tim Young

Jeff Greinke: Swimming
Tracks: Threads
Personnel: Jeff Greinke: keyboards, sounds; Dennis Rea: guitar

Eric Apoe: Songs Of Love And Doom
Soundtrack Boulevard
Tracks: The Money Field; Tears Of Destiny; In The Furnace; I Can't Hear You; Chemical Wind; Pulled; Creatures Of The Planet Earth
Personnel: Eric Apoe: voice, acoustic guitar; Dennis Rea: electric guitar; Jordan Ingram: saxophone; Christine Gunn: cello

Jeff Greinke: Big Weather
Tracks: River Limba; Brastagi Night
Personnel: Jeff Greinke: keyboards, sounds; Dennis Rea: guitar

Shredder Orpheus soundtrack
Image Network (VHS only)
Personnel: Roland Barker: keyboards, composer; Dennis Rea: guitar: Amy Denio: bass; Bill Rieflin: drums

Secretions compilation
C/Z Records
Tracks: Palm Springs
Personnel: Color Anxiety: Dennis Rea: guitar; Eric Amrine: guitar: Rob Angus: voice; Michael Gittleman: bass; Bert Coffin: drums; compilation also features Fred, Amy Denio's Couch of Sound, Green River, Tad, and others

Savant: The Neo-Realist (At Risk)
Palace of Lights
1983, reissued on CD 2002
Tracks: Indifference; The Neo-Realist; Shadow In Deceit; Knowledge And Action
Personnel: Kerry Leimer: keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, studio; Dennis Rea: guitar; Marc Barreca: synthesizer, loops; Kevin Hodges: kit drums; Charles Bronson: kit drums; John Foster: voice; Roy Finch: voice; Bob Rogen: percussion; Alex Petit, bass

Earthstar: Atomkraft? Nein Danke!
Tracks: Golden Rendezvous; Forest Floor
Personnel: Craig Wuest: keyboards; Dennis Rea: guitar; Daniel Zongrone: drums, vibraharp; a.o.

Earthstar: French Skyline
1981, reissued on CD by MI Records 1999
Tracks: Splendored Skies and Angels
Personnel: Craig Wuest: keyboards; Dennis Rea: guitar; a.o.

Earthstar: Salterbarty Tales
Moontower Records
Tracks: Splendored Skies and Angels, Night Tones, Shades
Personnel: Craig Wuest: keyboards; Dennis Rea: guitar; Norma Peach: bass; Daryl Trivieri: violin; a.o.

Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact Thank you.

Godin LGXT and Gibson ES-335 guitars; Rivera Clubster 45 amplifier; Zoom and Line 6 effects units

Please Sign Up or Log In to send your inquiry.

Events Calendar

Sorry, there are no Dennis Rea events available at this time. Submit one now.

TIP: Reach multiple calendar destinations with a single post. Learn now here.

comments powered by Disqus
Rank: 6,633 Views: 3,891

Weekly Giveaways

Ed Palermo

Ed Palermo
About | Enter

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp
About | Enter

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley
About | Enter

Tord Gustavsen

Tord Gustavsen
About | Enter

An innovative and rich resource For Jazz Musicians

The All About Jazz musician database grows daily
with the help of musicians, supportive professionals and advocates.

Musician? Plug in and promote yourself today.

Learn how