Wide Open Window
(Khaeon – 2003)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.
Chicagoan Deanna Witkowski‘s new release Wide Open Window is a luscious stew of straight ahead and bop with a touch of Afro-Caribbean flavor. Joined by Donnie McCaslin on sax, Jonathan Paul on bass and drummer Tom Hipskind, Witkowski starts the CD out working her magic on Cole Porter’s All Through the Night. Just One Of Those Things, another of the three Cole Porter covers, is a joyous romp that is highlighted by her back-and-forth soloing with bassist Paul and drummer Hipskind. Speak My Name is one of five original songs and shows her prowess as a composer. Deanna studied Afro-Cuban Jazz with Cuban piano masters Chucho Valdés and Hilario Duran in the 1990’s, and it peeks out on New August Tune, featuring some fine solo work from McCaslin. Mind you, this is NOT an Afro-cuban CD!, but rather a straight ahead CD that often borders on bop, but with an overall A-C influence.
On the final track Sanctus Deanna adds an element of vocals that adds well to the overall CD, a good closer. In this world of fast-buck smooth jazz and sampling, it’s good to hear that there are still some young, talented artists that write and appreciate jazz the way is should be.