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.
For his most recent project, Queens Jazz – A Living Tradition, Lichtman received a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts. The project involved composing ten new works inspired by the rich jazz heritage of the borough of Queens, for a debut performance in August 2015 at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, NY.
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 the prestigious-yet-intimate Brooklyn venue, Barbés, since 2011.
As an educator, Dennis is on the faculty of the Welbourne Traditional Jazz Music Camp in Middleburg, VA. He has led college workshops and masterclasses in the U.S. and China. With Brazilian-American band Nation Beat, he has given workshops in New York City public schools through the Midori Foundation. 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.