Deanna Witkowski takes the spiritual road on From This Place through gospel, Catholic liturgy, blues and jazz, and 19th century text to which she has written music.
Sacred music and jazz have come together through Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington, to name two, while John Coltrane brought in his own ardent beliefs to several of his compositions. Witkowski's sacerdotal calling is strongly manifested, particularly in the sincerity of her singing.
Let My Prayer Rise (Psalm 141)" is a gospel tune with Donny McCaslin laying the groove on the tenor saxophone. His warmth embraces the innate ...read more
Meet Deanna Witkowski: Winner of the 2002 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and a past guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski has been heralded for her consistently thrilling" playing and her boundless imagination" (All Music Guide). Her brand new fourth release, From This Place, focuses on her sacred jazz material with musicians including Donny McCaslin and John Patitucci.
Witkowski was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday on April 12, 209; her trio will present Moving With the Spirit: The Sacred Jazz of Mary Lou Williams at the Kennedy Center on May 16, 2009. To hear the interview, ...read more
Deanna Witkowski marches on to the sound of some well-crafted tunes on her latest release, Length of Days. The pianist/vocalist blends standards, her own compositions, and a chilled-out, laid-back, and unusual, but endearing version of Hi-Lili Hi-Lo, to winning effect.
Witkowski plays with clarity, never rushes, and keeps away from a welter of notes that could clog her flow. Her playing resonates with harmonic skill as she feeds a composition with ideas that permeate, fill, and extend into a becoming chain. She brings this to bear in a grabbing performance of In The Still Of The Night, where ...read more
Pianist Deanna Witkowski began her musical journey on the classical side, studying piano and flute. In college jazz called, first on the saxophone, then through piano lessons from Chucho Valdes and Hilario Duran. Length of Days, Witkowski's third release as a leader, opens with Beautiful Hands," inspired by a compliment given to her by Billy Childs. High praise from such an accomplished fellow pianist/composer, but he could just as well have remarked on a beautiful throat to compliment Witkowski's vocal prowess. She uses her voice to color her arrangements with vibrant hues, whether on her wordless, melifluous chant on the ...read more
Brian Camelio's ArtistShare model, allowing music to be distributed without the inherent loss of profitability that comes from dealing with all manner of middle men, has taken off in the past two years, with releases by artists like Maria Schneider, Jim Hall, and Cuong Vu. By placing more control in the artist's hands, he's made it possible for the kinds of sales numbers associated with jazz's more marginalized position to not inherently result in financial loss. And while the idea of internet-only sales is relatively new, the success of many of ArtistShare's releases proves that people are willing to accept ...read more
New York-based pianist Deanna Witkowski opens up Wide Open Window with the first of three Cole Porter tunes, a trio workout of "All Through the Night" with enough harmonic liberties to rend the tune nearly unrecognizable; but it's still a lovely, energetic rendition, an up-tempo romp over a flexible rhythm. It's a trio again for "Just One of Those Things," a bit more reverent this time, with some tight yet inventive improvisation by Witkowski. The third Porter tune, "From This Moment On," suffers a bit from "sweetness" and the addition of Witkowski's unnecessary wordless vocals.
I mention these ...read more
This is Deanna Witkowski’s second album. Her debut was Having To Ask, and if anything, it proves she has abundant talent as a pianist and as a writer. Witkowski sets her path with an accent on lyricism. Even when she deconstructs the melody, there is a sense of time and space and beauty. Add her sense of harmony, and she has the music in constant flow.
Here, Witkowski pulls in several standards with the emphasis on Cole Porter, in addition to her own compositions. She makes a mark as an accomplished interpreter, giving the standards a welcome, ...read more