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Deanna Witkowski: Length of Days

- CD Reviews

Deanna Witkowski: Length of Days

Deanna Witkowski on Piano and Vocals
Donny McCaslin on Saxes
Dave Ambrosio on Bass
Vince Cherico on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 26, 2005

This CD, with several compositions by pianist/vocalist, Deanna Witkowski, has a mixed motif with abstract vocals blending with the band, as well as abstract instrumental works, and even some seasoned ballads. Donny McCaslin on saxes, Dave Ambrosio on bass, and Vince Cherico on drums all have solos, in both atonal and melodic themes.

Notable tracks:

#4 –Length of Days – Composed by Deanna Witkowski. The title work opens with soft piano and whispering vocals, before McCaslin joins the surreal theme with his soulful sax. Cherico’s brushes add depth, and Ambrosio’s bass enhances the mood.

#6 –In the Still of the Night – Composed by Cole Porter. Arranged here for piano, bass, and drums, this ballad has an enchanting effect, and the early repetitive piano notes, in lower tones, soon merge right and left hands, with Cherico featured in the background on cymbals and soft drums. This is an uncluttered and well-conceived track.

#7 –Feed the Birds – Composed by Sherman/Sherman. Both McCaslin and Ms. Witkowski share the lead, with vocals and sax blending and engaging in musical conversation. It’s a slow, quiet, and introspective piece, with drums and bass as textured background.

#9 –I’m Beginning to See the Light – Composed by Ellington. Minus the vocals, McCaslin and Ms. Witkowski lead this track with its melodic and memorable theme. Toward the end, Ambrosio has an all-too-brief bass solo, but Cherico’s percussive effects are ever-present, although never overpowering. Especially notable is a mix of slow swing and Latin rhythm.

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