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Keith Witty

New York, NY         

A native of New York City, bassist Keith Witty has straddled the worlds of Hip-Hop, popular music forms, and Jazz’s Avante Garde in his young career. In 2000, before graduating from Wesleyan University, he made his recording debut with the Anthony Braxton Quartet. Work soon followed in the bands of drummer/producer Guillermo E. Brown, which spawned the opportunity to fill in for William Parker in the David S. Ware Quartet. Keith’s first engagement with Ware was the induction ceremony of Sonny Rollins and Max Roach into Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Hall of Fame, with both legends in attendance. In 2007, Keith formally joined Ware’s new quartet. That same year, he joined the touring band of Grammy-nominated singer and song-writer Amel Larrieux, with whom he has toured extensively and played on her “Lovely Standards” (2008) and “Ice Cream Everyday” (2013) records. In 2010, Keith joined the band of acclaimed East African vocalist Somi, with whom he has played concerts throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, partaking in the album, "Live at the Jazz Standard".  Most recently, Keith produced and performed on Somi’s major label debut, “Lagos Music Salon”, released in August 2014 on Sony/Okeh Records.  Simultaneously, Keith has collaborated with some of the most innovative musicians of Jazz’s upcoming generation, playing in bands led by Matana Roberts, Taylor Ho Bynum, Pyeng Threadgill, and others. A long-time member of trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson’s band, Keith played on his debut record as a leader, “Moment and the Message”, which received unanimous praise throughout the jazz world in 2013.  A dedicated educator as well, Keith was the New York City Opera Education Program’s composer-in-residence for 10 years.  He received his BA from Wesleyan University and an MA in music from the City College of New York.  He has studied with master bassists Michael Moore, Mark Dresser, and John Patitucci.


(Composed by Keith Witty) From the debut album of collaborative trio THIEFS, DayBaby was composed the day that my wife and I discovered we were going to be parents. The song was recorded entirely in my home studio in 2012, featuring Guillermo E. Brown on vocals and drums, Christophe Panzani on saxophone and electronics, and myself on double bass, piano, synthesizers and vocals.

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Ankara Sundays

(Composed by Keith Witty and Somi) This song was released in 2014 on East African vocalist Somi’s major label debut (Sony/Okeh). Performed by Somi and produced by Keith Witty, the song juxtaposes the joyous weekend celebrations of an African woman against the harsh realities of her daily existence. In the making of this song, Keith produced several separate recording sessions – core band, string section, percussion – and added several other sonic elements in post-production.

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Shuffle Boil

(Composed by Thelonious Monk; Arranged by Keith Witty) From a 2010 recording by the Keith Witty Quintet, this arrangement is an interpretation of a lesser-known Monk composition. It opens with an improvised chorus by saxophonist Loren Stillman over an augmented set of chord changes and rhythmic structures drawn from the original. The piece modulates to a new key with a secondary melody and set of chord changes, before opening up again for a solo by vibraphonist Chris Dingman. Monk’s original melody is finally played to close the arrangement

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