Denny Zeitlin has recorded over thirty critically acclaimed albums; twice won first place in the Down Beat International Jazz Critics Poll; written original music for Sesame Street; and appeared on network TV, including repeats on the Tonight Show, and CBS Sunday Morning. Zeitlin’s lecture- demonstration “Unlocking the Creative Impulse: The Psychology of Improvisation” has been presented across the U.S. and in Europe.
He has concertized throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe, at colleges, jazz clubs, and major festivals; appearing with jazz greats such as Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson, John Patitucci, John Abercrombie, Marian McPartland, Charlie Haden, David Grisman, Kronos Quartet, Paul Winter, David Friesen, Matt Wilson, Buster Williams and many others.
Zeitlin was born in Chicago in 1938. His parents were both involved in medicine and music. He began playing the piano at age two, studied classical music throughout his elementary school years, and fell in love with jazz in high school a made-to-order medium for his primary interest in improvisation and composition. He played professionally in and around Chicago while still in high school. in college and medical school, he combined jazz with formal study of music theory and composition with Alexander Tcherepnin, Robert Muczynski, and George Russell. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois in 1960 and received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1964.