Desert Island Jazz
Deanna Witkowski (2011)

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Born in New Hampshire, Deanna Witkowski has called many cities home (before her leaving for college, her family had moved 11 times), but "home" for more than a decade has been New York City.

Deanna came to national attention in 2001 when she won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, an event that had previously seen the launch of the careers of Marcus Roberts, Frank Kimbrough, Christian Jacob, Bevan Manson, Kenny Drew jr, and Lynne Arriale. But Deanna had been playing piano—and other instruments, too—for decades beforehand. She studied both piano and flute from age nine, and was a classical piano major in college. Her introduction to jazz, however, was via neither of those instruments: lacking a jazz piano teacher at her high school, she began her jazz education via instruments on which she could actually learn—the alto and tenor saxophone.

Deanna's boundless imagination has led her to the worlds of Brazilian music, jazz, sacred music and classical music, and one of the best reviews calls her "consistently thrilling". She has four recordings out under her own name: "Length of Days", "Wide Open Window", "Having to Ask", and 2009's "From This Place", which marries texts ancient and modern with her own writings.

Deanna has twice been a guest on NPR's "Weekend Edition". In May 2010 she led 6,000 participants in singing her commissioned piece "Faith, Hope, Love" at the United Methodist Women's Assembly in St Louis. She also created "Moving with the Spirit: The Sacred Music of Mary Lou Williams", which has been performed several times, not least at the Kennedy Center.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Blossom Dearie Blossom Dearie Everything I've Got Verve
# 2 Take Six The Standard The Windmills of Your Mind Heads Up
# 3 Elis Regina Elis, Esse Mulher O Bêbade e a Equilibrista WEA Latino
# 4 Peter Erskine As It Is Touch Her Soft Lips and Part ECM
# 5 Tatiana Parra Inteira Inteira Boranda
# 6 Ed Simon Ed Simon Colega Kokopelli
# 7 Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Ella and Louis Again Let's Call the Whole Thing Off Verve
# 8 Shirley Horn Here's to Life Come a Little Closer Verve
# 9 Kurt Elling Close Your Eyes Wait 'Til You See Her Blue Note
         
Book The Bible
         
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