Deanna Witkowski



32-year-old pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski, winner of the 2002 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and a recent guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, looks to diverse musical worlds in her fusions of jazz, afro-latin, classical, and sacred music. Her 2003 recording, Wide Open Window, led reviewers to praise her playing as “consistently thrilling” (All Music Guide) and to name Witkowski as “one of the best of the new generation of jazz pianists” (Jazz Journal International). Highlights of Witkowski’s 2004 schedule have included leading her trio at the Tel Aviv Opera House as well as in the Jacksonville and Rochester Jazz Festivals; touring as part of vocalist Lizz Wright’s quartet in Europe and the US; and teaching a course in jazz arranging in Frankfurt. Her forthcoming quartet release, the first with her New York band, will be released on ArtistShare in the summer of 2005.

Trained as a classical pianist and flutist, Witkowski didn't discover jazz until attending Wheaton College, in Illinois. Upon graduating she attended DePaul University in Chicago, but left her degree program to perform full time. Her wide-ranging interests expanded beyond jazz and classical: in 1996, she taught piano for a semester in Kenya, and shortly thereafter developed a fascination with Cuban music, studying with pianists Chucho Valdés and Hilario Durán. The results of her travels are in ample evidence on her first recording, Having to Ask, which received unusually strong reviews for a debut in the international jazz press.

Deanna's new CD, Length Of Days, is now available. It is a jazz quartet recording. Here is a review from Jazz Times magazine.

"On this, her third album as leader, she teams with saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Vince Cherico on an intoxicatingly bubbly “Straight, No Chaser,” infuses “In the Still of the Night” with starlight twinkle and filters “I’m Beginning to See the Light” through a multihued prism. It is, though, two less obvious choices- the jaunty “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo,” lifted from a 1953 Leslie Caron musical and slowed to a snail’s pace, and the Sherman brothers’ winsome “Feed the Birds” (from Mary Poppins)- coupled with the self-penned title track (based on the biblical account of St. Paul’s conversion) that best reflect the gentle humanity of Witkowski’s jazz soul. "
-Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes

Witkowski’s musical interests took another turn when she began coordinating an annual jazz service at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Church. Her interest in composing for the liturgy led to a three year position as music director at All Angels' Church in New York, where she moved in 1997. Her tenure at All Angels’ led to an extensive catalog of new liturgical music, including two jazz masses. Witkowski now serves as music director at Church of the Redeemer in Astoria, Queens, and continues to present her sacred music in churches around the country.

Sacred Jazz In Your Neighborhood
Deanna travels extensively presenting sacred jazz in services, concerts, and workshops. She is happy to work with church music directors in making her music available to choirs and congregations in advance of an appearance. In addition to her own original music, she is also available for lecture/demonstrations on the liturgical music of Mary Lou Williams.

For more on Deanna's
Sacred music bio, and sample sacred music concert program :

Deanna also has some excellent resources for Jazz Worship on the Christian Jazz Charts Page! 

 Lead sheets, piano parts, and lectures on jazz worship are all available!


"Witkowski is not far from jazz stardom with her keyboard techniques, her imaginative composing and arranging, and her wordless vocalizing. Remember her name.
–Harvey Siders, JazzTimes

An extraordinary talent whose music speaks articulately with elegance, honesty and beauty. –Maria Schneider

One of the best of the new generation of jazz piano players.
-Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal International

A major talent. -Don Glasgo, Jazz Improv

A vibrant young pianist with a clear musical vision.
-Chuy Varela, JazzTimes

"The depth of Witkowski’s approach is almost concealed by her
elegant delivery, but she’s another contemporary jazz artist who
successfully masks complexity in an undeniably accessible sound. The, "Length of Days" CD is a high water mark in Witkowski’s career to date. "
-John Kelman, All About Jazz

Length Of Days

Length of Days - new CD

Audio Samples here!  


Wide Open Window

Wide Open Window

    Rare Appearance  



Declaring Newness

  Take My Life  

To purchase these CD's or for more information visit:



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