by Dan Bilawsky
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, ...read more
by Hrayr Attarian
Pianist Deanna Witkowski is a truly versatile artist and consummate musician. Her superb forays into sacred music in a jazz framework, for instance, are captivating in their free flowing spirituality and her subtly adventurous category defying explorations thrill in their spontaneity and their imagination. On her fifth release, the intimate Raindrop she goes solo in interpreting and embellishing eight of polish composer Frederic Chopin's deeply emotive pieces. She elegantly peppers these with fragments of Bossa Nova and other ...read more
by Jerry D'Souza
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 ...read more
by AAJ Staff
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 ...read more
by Jerry D'Souza
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 ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
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 ...read more
by John Kelman
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 ...read more