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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, new color. The pull is immediate as she gets off in a free-flowing yet emphatic structure of “All Through The Night,” which she shapes in tantalizing tempo switches. Her wordless vocalizing on “From This Moment On” in tandem with McCaslin’s soprano is almost hymnal, the lyrical impact compelling. Speaking in terms of hymns, “Sanctus,” which she wrote, swings joyously and appropriately in praise of God. Her solo reading of “You And The Night And The Music” is delectable and true to the core.
In her own write Witkowski brings the soft sashay of a Latin rhythm into “New August Tune” with McCaslin breathing the lifeblood through his warm tenor. And on “A Rare Appearance,” he pushes the boundaries without flooding the cove. Witkowski daubs the tune with an airy vocal and opens up the melody with romps and whorls while Paul and Hipskind swirl beneath, feeding the impetus. This is an enjoyable musical journey.
Track Listing: All Through The Night; New August Tune; Wide Open Window; From This Moment On; A Rare
Appearance; Speak My Name; Just One Of Those Things; You And The Night And The Music; A
Wonderful Guy; Sanctus
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.