Following this event will be a special meet the artist reception. Witkowski will be performing with her quartet featuring acclaimed musicians Peter Brainin, soprano and tenor sax; Michael OBrien, bass and Scott Latzky, drums.
Witkowski has combined the spirituality of the soul and heart with the spirituality of jazzshe continues the work of Mary Lou Williams who was the first major jazz artist to compose for liturgical purposes. This music is 'healing to the soul'. -Rev. Peter F. O'Brien, SJ, Executive Director of The Mary Lou Williams Foundation
Witkowskis playing is consistently thrilling, and her musical imagination seems boundless. -Rick Anderson, All Music Guide
Continuing in a tradition while pioneering new ways of viewing the world around them has always been the daily work of artists, whether they be jazz musicians or religious mystics. In the case of pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski, the disciplined paths of living as a jazz musician and as a person of faith have converged in her beautiful, genre-defying fourth recording, From This Place.
Marrying ancient and modern sacred texts with the richness of jazz, Witkowski has saved her most honest and soulful music for this new release. Not since Mary Lou Williams has there been a pianist who has melded jazz and liturgy into such a joyous, accessible art form that will appeal across generational, stylistic, and religious divides.
From This Place finds Witkowski leading a core quartet, with Donny McCaslin on soprano and tenor sax, John Patitucci on acoustic and electric bass, and Scott Latzky on drums. Her previously documented wide-ranging stylistic and emotional palette is broadened by the addition of guest vocalists Laila Biali, Peter Eldridge (of the New York Voices), and 2009 Grammy-nominated Kate McGarry. With an emphasis on breathing new life into texts ranging from nineteenth-century hymn writers, the Mass, scriptures, and her own pen.
Witkowski shows another side of her considerable talent: a stunning gift to find the essence of a text and to translate that essence into sound; and a contemplative, open spirit as an original lyricist.
The varied textures on From This Place will actively engage listeners, whether they are jazz fans or have little background in jazz: Let My Prayer Rise brings an earthy blues feel to a psalm; Gloria, Agnus Dei, and Keep in Mind feature intricate four-part harmony; and O, the Deep, Deep Love provides an inspired trio adaptation of a nineteenth-century hymn tune.
Witkowskis original lyrics contribute to two of the most stunning tracks on the album: Never Before abandons instruments in a three-part womens a cappella piece featuring Kate McGarry and Laila Biali; while From This Place features the quartet in a through-composed work that, with its naked vulnerability and sweeping dynamic range, offers a glance into Mary Magdalenes tumultuous emotional landscape on Easter morning.
Pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski CD release concert for From This Place
April 22, 7pm
Peter Brainin, soprano and tenor sax
Michael O'Brien, bass
Scott Latzky, drums
Wed, 22 April from 7-8:30 pm
Saint Peter's Church, 619 Lexington Ave at 54th St, (E & V to Lexington Ave.)
Cost: $10 suggested donation