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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 fervor with Witkowski adding to the impact with her pure, soaring voice. McCaslin is comfortable in several situations and this is one more for him; he makes it a memorable experience.
Laila Biali and Kate McGarry join Witkowski on the a capella "Never Before," the purity of their harmonies circling and descending in a cloak of velvet. The words, written by Witkowski, are a testament to her faith and sound unabashedly naked in their sensibility; they harken back to the time when the human soul sought the spirit of the Lord and found communion with it. The mood is relaxed when Peter Eldridge turns up for a quartet to take on the joyous "Keep in Mind" accompanied by the piano and a melodic turn of phrase on the electric bass by John Patitucci. The juxtaposition of the two works well with the intensity of the first being calmed by the relaxing timbre of the second.
The modern does not escape her and Witkowski gives "Take My Life and Let it Be" and "Song of Simeon" straightforward contemporary turns. They are intensely personal evocations, but "Take My Life and Let It Be" may be in better form because of the harmonies.
Witkowski comes up solidly on the side of faith and those who lean towards religious music will be rewarded.
Track Listing: Let My Prayer Rise (Psalm 141); I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say; From This Place; Evening Mass: Kyrie; Evening Mass: Gloria; Evening Mass: Sanctus; Evening Mass: Agnus Dei; O, the Deep, Deep Love; Christ the Light; Never Before; Make Your Wonders Known; Pass Me Not; Keep In Mind; Take My Life and Let It Be; Song of Simeon.
Personnel: Deanna Witkowski: piano, vocals; Donny McCaslin: soprano and tenor saxophones; John Patitucci: acoustic and electric basses; Scott Latzky: drums; Laila Biali: vocals (5, 7, 10, 13); Peter Eldridge: vocals (5, 7, 13); Kate McGarry: vocals (5, 7, 10, 13).
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com