Originally from Boston, MA and currently living in New York City, Dennis Lichtman is a 35-year-old multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, violin, mandolin) who is deeply entrenched in early- to mid-1900’s American music, from traditional jazz and swing to bluegrass and western swing. His elegant voice carries through on all three instruments, lending a thread that weaves together the various genres he navigates.
Since 2007, Dennis has been the clarinetist and bandleader of the famed Tuesday night traditional-jazz jam session at Mona's in downtown New York, which was recently profiled in the New York Times, and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as "ground zero for an emerging late-night scene of young swing and traditional jazz players." December 2012 saw the release of Tuesdays At Mona’s, a 19-minute documentary about the Mona’s session produced by Hi-Tide Films, accompanied by a live CD of Mona’s Hot Four with 19 guest musicians.
Dennis switches deftly between fiddle, clarinet, and mandolin while leading his sextet, The Brain Cloud, through a broad array of American music including original compositions and new arrangements of old songs. The band released their second album, Outside Looking In, on CD and vinyl LP record in spring 2013. The Brain Cloud has held a Monday night residency at famed Brooklyn venue, Barbés, since 2011.
As an educator, Dennis is on the faculty of the Welbourne Traditional Jazz Music Camp in Middleburg, VA. With Brazilian-American band Nation Beat, he has given workshops in New York City public schools through the Midori Foundation, and college-level master classes. He has also been involved with Lincoln Center’s Meet The Artist Series, giving bluegrass workshops to inner-city school groups. Lichtman maintains a small studio of private students, ages 9 through 75.
NOTABLE RECENT AND UPCOMING APPEARANCES
January 2015 – Awarded grant by the Queens Council on the Arts for Queens Jazz – A Living Tradition – to compose music to be premiered in August 2015 at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, NY.
October 2014 – Guest clinician & artist in Denver, CO with University of Colorado jazz band and the Denver Jazz Club Youth All-Stars (high school).
October 2014 – The Brain Cloud – Madison Square Park Studio Series performance with Dom Flemons
September 2014 – Central Time Tour as guest artist with Pokey LaFarge – large theaters throughout the midwest.
September 2014 – Rhythm Runners tour and album recording under a grant from 4Culture – historic ballrooms and venues of the Pacific Northwest.
September 2014 – The Brain Cloud – eastern U.S. tour.
August 2014 – Welbourne Jazz Camp – clarinet and violin faculty.
July 2014 – 2-week European tour as guest artist with Pokey LaFarge.
June 2014 – The Brain Cloud – Rochester and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals.
April 2014 – Mona’s Hot Four – house band leader for Sidney Bechet Society’s “Jam Session of the Millenium" at Symphony Space.
March 2014 – Good Morning America live broadcast – led Mona’s Hot Five on-air performance for Mardi Gras.
August 2013 – Nation Beat & Nação Estrela Brilhante (of Recife, Brazil) – A Tale Of Two Nations Tour – funded by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.
2013 – 2014 – Recorded violin and clarinet for Emmy-winning educational PBS show Peg + Cat.
OTHER NOTABLE VENUES AND APPEARANCES
New York City
Blue Note Jazz Festival
Brooklyn Folk Festival
Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Public Library
Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park Bandshell
Jazz Foundation of America – A Great Night In Harlem
Lincoln Center Meet-the-Artist
Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing
Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors
Lincoln Center Rubinstein Atrium
Louis Armstrong House Museum
Madison Square Park – Studio Series
Museum of Natural History
New York Hot Jazz Festival
New York Public Library
New York Winter Jazz Festival
United States and International
Aspen Snowmass Jazz Festival (Aspen, CO)
Cambridge Folk Festival (U.K.)
Chicago World Music Festival (Chicago, IL)
Cleveland Institute of Music masterclasses (Cleveland, OH)
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Oak Hill, NY)
Herrang and Skankaloss Festival (Sweden)
Kennedy Center (Washington, DC)
Les Nuit Secretes Festival (Aulnoye-Aymeries, France)
Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble (Woodstock, NY)
Los Angeles Great Performances (Los Angeles, CA)
Lotus Festival (Bloomington, IN)
Mass MoCA (North Adams, MA)
Moab Music Festival (Moab, UT)
Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA)
Nanjing Jazz Festival (China)
Newport Folk Festival (Newport, RI)
Nu’uanu Mardi Gras Carnaval Street Festival (Honolulu, HI)
Oberlin College masterclasses (Oberlin, OH)
Ottawa Jazz Festival (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA)
Rochester Jazz Festival (Rochester, NY)
Santo Scenarium (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Severance Hall (Cleveland, OH)
Sun Valley Jazz Festival (Sun Valley, ID)
University of Colorado – workshops (Denver, CO)