All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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 World Domination Vol 1: Furie CD/LP/Track Review
World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review
20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Frank Salis CD/LP/Track Review
Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Live! CD/LP/Track Review
Live!
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 19, 2018
Read My Favorite Things(1960-1969) CD/LP/Track Review
My Favorite Things(1960-1969)
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 19, 2018
Read The Acadian Orogeny CD/LP/Track Review
The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "Blow, Strike & Touch" CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Along The Way" CD/LP/Track Review Along The Way
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Prisma" CD/LP/Track Review Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Pandora's Bag" CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "An Eye on the Future" CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017