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
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
Lead sheets, piano parts, and lectures on jazz worship are all
not far from jazz stardom with her keyboard techniques, her
imaginative composing and arranging, and her wordless
vocalizing. Remember her name.
–Harvey Siders, JazzTimes
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
To purchase these CD's or
for more information visit: