Desert Island Jazz
Deanna Witkowski (2011)

Visit Website

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
Luxury Item Organic raspberries
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Bruce Jenkins
09 Dec
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct