Deanna Witkowski - Wide Open Window


At some point in time, a “Wide Open Window”, of opportunity will unveil itself. Envision an atmosphere where one navigates the possibilities of merging ideas of the present and future then you’ll discover a remarkable young pianist named Deanna Witkowski. “Wide Open Window” is Deanna’s sophomore effort; I haven’t heard her debut recording from 1998. Deanna hails from the Windy City, upon this riveting second outing, the wonderful talents that this lady processes informs that you’re in for impeccable journey in jazz blended wrapped by the intriguing melodies of Afro-Cuban music that lures you into the grace and beauty of this exquisite collection of music.   

“All Through The Night” a Cole Porter tune opens the 10-song set. Ms. Witkowski with the support of a talented cast of sidemen travel without variables reframing this piece, romping this sassy samba with continuity. This is vintage trio jazz swinging at it’s best.  

Coming in at the second spot, Deanna gives us her self-penned composition titled “New August Tune” This track is influenced by her studies of Afro-Cuban Jazz with Cuban piano masters Chucho Valdés and Hilario Duran in the mid ‘90s, this cut grooves with a purpose. Mirroring the masters that came before him tenor saxman Donny McCaslin solos convincingly, commanding your attention every step of the way with this dynamic performance.  

The title track penned by Witkowski “Wide Open Window” makes its appearance with a bop like sensibilities featuring not only the talents of Ms. Witkowski impressionistic piano stylings. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin reveals way he’s not your average musician he assuredly breathes life into the cold steel as if Deanna wrote the tune with him in mind.  

“From This Moment On” comes in at 4th spot. Deanna elegantly captures the essence of Cole Porter composition in an alluring yet in a seductive fashion adding texture with a touch of sultry backing vocals, which she also provides. Midway through this number Deanna illustrates way she’s a serious player to recon with in the world of jazz.  

Ms. Witkowski delivers another self-penned composition, this one’s called “A Rare Appearance”. The band shuffles the harmonic melodies like a rim-shot without hesitation, trading solos back and forth with endless array of energy displaying their talents as sideman that will indeed open doors for them.   

“Speak My Name,” penned by Deanna is another boppin’ number highlights some seriously strong chops by the pianist. Her sideman at this vantage point negotiates with flawless interplay between one another probing and weaving with exceptional prowess.   

By now it’s obvious that Ms. Witkowski adores Cole Porter’s compositions and arrangements. This time it’s “Just One Of Those Things” the seventh track on the cd. Deanna tackles this swinging tune with fire in her hands, rumbling chords joyously trading solos with bassist Jonathan Paul and drummer Tom Hipskind in this trio setting without falter.  

Deanna approaches the next tune with timbre yet reconstructing the imagery of this melodic masterpiece, she sustains this stellar moment by co-writers Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz titled “You and The Night and The Music” with good taste and harmonious phrasings while flirting with each note.   

The distinctive yet swinging sounds of “A Wonderful Guy” by Rodgers and Hammerstein comes in at the nine spot. Sparked by fuel Deanna delivers again with support from her more than ample sidemen as they engage in the fundamentals of jazz in unison with complex rhythms that raises the bar of quality musicianship!   

“Sanctus” the last selection on “Wide Open Window” is a tune written by Deanna. Ms. Witkowski lends her vocal talents too us in a subtle way, providing a nice touch for the conclusion of this mesmerizing collection of songs.  

If you’re looking to embrace jazz with a touch of Afro-Cuba flavored ingredients then this record comes highly-recommend. Keep all eyes upon Deanna Witkowski and her record label Khaeon Records, please follow this core of diversely talented jazz musicians that are on the horizon.