Latest Release: Tanya Dennis' cinematic style of "World Fusion Smooth Jazz"

White Sails Blue Skies Reviews


Jazz2Love by Susan Frances   

“White Sails Blue Skies is a spellbinding offering… Brimming with romantic ambience, audiences instantly trust and discern her genuine nature. Having written seven of the ten tracks on the release, Dennis's arrangements are spellbinding. White Sails Blue Skies demonstrates Dennis’s assets as a penetrative vocalist with the melodic sensibilities of an aged soul and the songwriting attributes of a enthralling troubadour.”   

Album:  White Sails Blue Skies 
Artist:  Tanya Dennis 
Label:  PaLoma Records 

Starlight and moonbeams are some of the images that singer-songwriter-violinist-guitarist Tanya Dennis' music on her 2021 release White Sails Blue Skies conjures up in the listener's mind.  Brimming with romantic ambiences throughout the recording, Dennis resonates a wise, old soul in her voicing that audiences instantly trust and discern her genuine nature. Having written seven of the ten tracks on the release, Dennis's arrangements are spellbinding. 

Densely populated in atmospheric ethers, the music puts listeners in a reflective mood as Dennis's vocals caress the dreamy swells of "Desolation Sound" with a soothing touch, transitioning into the island sway of "Indigo," penned by her good friend and Hall of Fame songwriter Kostas, as her creamy vocal texture is spangled in Hendrik Meurkens's buoyant harmonica twirls. Dwelling in the dreamlight part of the jazz spectrum, Dennis welcomes the sultry Latin fare of "Slow Reckless Tango," basking in the flamenco aura projected by David Martin's nylon string guitar as she plays the violin with uninhibited sentiment. 

The rustic, country trimmings of "The World Can Do Without Us," written by Ronnie Hughes, infiltrate the listener's soul as Dennis's vocals supply the siren's lure.  The Caribbean hues of Dann Sherrill's percussion tottering along "Till You" is rimmed in Meurkens's harmonica furls, and switches to a Latin-inspired shuffle across "Where You Are."  The luxurious atmosphere created by nylon string and acoustic guitars elevates the senses. 

Dennis strums together elements of jazz, samba, tango, country, and blues, illuminating a romantic verve. A followup to her two previous solo endeavors, Waterdance in 1999 and Apartment 9 in 2003, White Sails Blue Skies is a spellbinding offering that she dedicates to her idol harmonica master Toots Thielemans.   

Dennis shows she has music is in her DNA. Her grandmother was an Evangelist who recorded gospel music for Chicago’s King label in the 1950s, and her mother, also a singer, performed with Jack Teagarden and also recorded several projects. White Sails Blue Skies demonstrates Dennis’s assets as a penetrative vocalist with the melodic sensibilities of an aged soul and the songwriting attributes of a enthralling troubadour. 

Tanya Dennis - vocals, violin 
Hendrik Meurkens - harmonica 
Jim Ferguson - bass 
David Martin - nylon string guitar 
Billy Panda - acoustic guitar 
Dann Sherrill - percussion 
Scott Halgren - piano 
Matt Berry - acoustic guitar 
John Richards - electric guitar 
Noah Hungate - percussion


bebop spoken here: Album review: Tanya Dennis - White Sails Blue Skies (

Album review: Tanya Dennis - White Sails Blue Skies 

Difficult to define. Not quite totally jazz and not quite totally not jazz if that makes sense. Dennis has a wistful voice that grabs you gently. It's a caress rather than a bear hug, one that stays with you long after the in your face performers have faded. 

Seven of the nine songs are compositions by the singer who also impresses on violin. There's some fine chromatic harp blowing by Meurkens and the various guitarists add additional colour to what is a most enjoyable listening experience. 

As an interesting footnote, Tanya Dennis is also an avid sailor who, after purchasing a 50-foot sailboat (as one does), set sail around the Keys, Bahamas and Caribbean. It was a trip she took to reinvent herself musically and personally. The music on this album is a result of that journey - it worked! Lance. 

Now available via usual suspects. 

Chiarascuro; Till You; Slow Reckless Tango; Where You Are; White Sails; The World Can do Without us (Ronnie Hughes); Indigo (Kosta Lazarides); Desolation Sound; All to Myself.



White Sails Blue Skies 

Tanya Dennis 

Jazz, samba, tango, gypsy and blues are just a few of the musical genres, rhythms and styles that Tanya Dennis blends on her latest release titled White Sails Blue Skies. The vocalist/violinist, guitarist and composer pays tribute to the great Toots Thielemans via 9 tracks several which features the virtuoso harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens. This recording is definitely a showcase for Tanya’s exceptional vocals and multi-instrumental talents. She no only sings but plays the violin, castanets and prayer bowl alongside nine other musicians. She also produced, arranged and wrote 7 of the 9 songs. 

Most memorable is “Slow Reckless Tango,” for its enticing guitar work by David Martin, Billy Panda and percussion by Darin Sherrill. Tanya’s brief but beautiful violin solos heighten the resonance of this lovely song which also includes her handclaps and castanets. “White Sails” is a smooth gem of a ballad that floats along as if you were on a gentle cruise to your favorite destination. 

Overall, White Sails Blue Skies is a superb vehicle for Tanya Dennis’ exemplary talents. Keep in touch with Tanya at


The Jazz Owl by Travis Rogers, Jr. 

“The music is moving and touching, romantic and reflective. Tanya’s voice is soothing, warm and wonderful. She delivers on the moods she seeks to evoke. The band interprets it all seamlessly for her. She effortlessly navigates the waters between tango, Carib music, and Jazz and she gives respect and light to every note she sings and plays. There is no one with whom to compare Tanya.”



TANYA DENNIS/White Sails Blue Skies: An eclectic musical chameleon with many interests finds herself in a Michael Franks bag mixing smooth jazz with a tropical vibe bottomed by vocals to match. Easy rolling, almost cinematic jazz by a gal that never felt a need to play by the rules, she goes her own way here and the maps she unfurls are too beguiling to pass up. One of those records that underscore what a grown up summer sounds like. 
(PaLoma 321) 

Volume 45/Number 237 
June 25, 2021 
830 W. Route 22 #144 
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047 
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher 
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record


Music Log by Michael Doherty 

Tanya Dennis: “White Sails Blue Skies” – Tanya Dennis is a vocalist and violinist, as well as songwriter, and her new album features mostly original material. Titled White Sails Blue Skies, the music here right the beginning has the feeling of being out on a sail boat, near islands, away from the bustle and concerns of the city. In that first song, “Chiaroscura,” she sings “We ebb and we flow/Like the moon on the water/Life shapes and shifts/Tide and drift.” That features some nice work on both guitar and piano, but it is Tanya Dennis’ warm voice that we latch onto as we travel through the world of this music. Accomplished harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens joins Tanya Dennis on “Till You,” a love song about finding that special someone. “I’d be permanently blue/Till you.” Meurkens is giving plenty of opportunity to do what he does best on this track, and there is also some wonderful work on guitar. On the beautiful and haunting “Slow Reckless Tango,” we get to hear Tanya Dennis on violin. The album’s title track, “White Sails,” has a smooth, pleasant vibe. “Clear morning/Out on the bay/The breezes are blowing/Blowing our way.” “The World Can Do Without Us Today” is one of only two songs on this release not composed by Tanya Dennis. This one was written by Ronnie Hughes, and features Hendrik Meurkens on harmonica. Meurkens also contributes his excellent playing to the other track not written by Tanya Dennis, “Indigo.” “Desolation Sound” has an undeniable allure, and features some beautiful work by Tanya Dennis on violin. I also like Scott Halgren’s work on piano. The disc concludes with “All To Myself,” which has a cheerful vibe. “Maybe this is something I should ignore ‘til I come to my senses/And get my feet back under me/What a delicious distraction.” This album is scheduled to be released on June 25, 2021.



Video: Where You Are

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