All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

9

Deanna Witkowski: Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The improvisatory phrase and the song of praise don't stem from the same place, but who's to say they can't break bread together? With Makes The Heart To Sing: Jazz Hymns, pianist Deanna Witkowski erases lines between the strict-toned sacred and malleable secular, creating music that manages to be tradition-minded and open-minded all at once.

The fifteen tracks contained herein pull from myriad sources and eras. An African-American spiritual cozies up next to a 17th-century German hymn, a folk melody calling back to Central Europe leads to American clergyman John Henry Hopkins' famed "Kings Of Orient" melody, and a bit of Beethoven's most joyous contribution to the classical canon follows an upbeat taste of the shape note hymnal Southern Harmony. Through it all, the tie that binds is Witkowski and her deep and abiding passion for this music. Whether painting "There Is A Balm In Gilead" with appropriately soothing tone colors, giving "Lasst uns Erfreuen" a contemporary sheen, or playing atop a standard rock backdrop on "Hymn To Joy," she keeps a keen eye and steady hands on the scales that balance reverence and relevance.

It takes sensitive souls to work this particular seam, and Witkowski's bandmates fit the bill. Bassist Daniel Foose brings fluidity and warmth to bear in the grounding he provides, also making his mark out front on a relaxed "Lord, I Want To Be A Christian," and drummer Scott Latzky plays with mature restraint, shadowing Witkowski in softer environs and laying down hip, light-touch grooves, as with the foundation of "Foundation."

While the livelier fare on the album has its charms, it's the mellower material that makes a greater impression. The calmer the atmosphere, the more moving the music becomes. There's nothing showy here, nor is there a need for any fireworks. The measured approach preferred by Witkowski and company accomplishes the mission. The heart sings and the heavens listen.

Track Listing: Cwm Rhondda (Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah); Hyfrydol (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling); There is a Balm in Gilead; Lasst uns Erfreuen (All Creatures of Our God and King); Nicaea (Holy, Holy, Holy); Woodworth (Just As I Am); St. Elizabeth (Fairest Lord Jesus); Kings of Orient (We Three Kings); Beach Spring; Foundation (How Firm a Foundation); Hymn to Joy (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee); Lord, I Want to Be a Christian; Holy Manna; Abbot’s Leigh; St. Elizabeth (Fairest Lord Jesus).

Personnel: Deanna Witkowski: piano, arrangements; Daniel Foose: bass; Scott Latzky: drums.

Title: Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Tilapia Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Kings of Orient (We Three Kings)

Kings of Orient (We Three Kings)

Deanna Witkowski
Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz...

Light that Shimmers

Light that Shimmers

Deanna Witkowski
Raindrop: Improvisations with...

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns

Makes the Heart to...

Tilapia Records
2017

buy
Raindrop: Improvisations with Chopin

Raindrop:...

Tilapia Records
2014

buy
From This Place

From This Place

Tilapia Records
2009

buy
Length of Days

Length of Days

ArtistShare
2005

buy
Wide Open Window

Wide Open Window

Khaeon World Music
2003

buy
Having To Ask

Having To Ask

Jazzline
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Live In Vienna, December 1st, 2016 (UK Edition)" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Vienna, December 1st, 2016 (UK Edition)
by John Kelman
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Orientation" CD/LP/Track Review Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Love & Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 30, 2017