| ABOUT DEBBIE DEANE
“Deane has soul to burn.”
—Mike Bannon in Jazz Review
Debbie Deane hails from a musical world without boundaries, where singer-songwriters and top-tier jazz musicians breathe the same creative air. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Debbie grew up listening to Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Steely Dan. As a teenager she explored the fertile ground of the Great American Songbook. Introduced to folk, funk and fusion by her older brother, she studied the great divas of the jazz and pop worlds developing an intense interest in jazz harmony. Music was the ultimate refuge.
After earning a degree in English Literature from Harvard, Debbie embarked on a career in music. She studied jazz intensively at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, honing the piano skills that she continues to display as a singer-songwriter. At first her songwriting and singing came as an afterthought, but then took center stage.
In her performing and recording life, Debbie had the good fortune to work with acclaimed jazz musicians who share her interest in quality songwriting — people like drummer Brian Blade and the late, great bass player Jeff Andrews. Moving back to Brooklyn, she lived in a “jazz den” with some of the city’s most promising jazz musicians, including saxophonists Seamus Blake and Terry Deane, drummer Marc Miralta and pianists John Stetch and George Colligan. “Everyone came through our place,” says Debbie. “The people I’ve played with, they’re all my friends and they’ve known me, they’ve been my roommates and people I went to school with.” Their presence on Debbie’s recordings and at her live shows is a powerful endorsement.
Debbie continues to gig extensively in New York and beyond. She is proud to be a part of Brooklyn Above Ground, a diverse music collective that has donated proceeds from its compilation CD to the grass-roots organization World Hunger Year.
Debbie’s songs have appeared on TV’s “Party of Five,” on Jennifer Love Hewitt’s album Let’s Go Bang, and in a number of films. In addition, she is a cast member of the Great American Pop Show: the History of American Popular Music, which tours elementary schools in and around New York City. Teaching music is a big part of her life.
“I wish all debuts could be as strong as this one. And it’s not due just to the the stellar sidemen...it's the heart and soul of the artist's music and vision. In a word, soul,” wrote Mike Bannon in Jazz Review.com about Debbie’s self-titled debut CD. Produced by bassist Jeff Andrews and featuring Wayne Krantz, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Phil Markowitz and more, the album was licensed by ESC Records and released in Europe in 2005. She was featured on Radio France, and on Lufthansa Airline's Inflight program in 2006. The label also honored Debbie by including her rendition of “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” on the 2006 compilation Maestros of Cool: a Tribute to Steely Dan.
In June 2007, Debbie released her second album, the richly rewarding Grove House, on RKM Records, a label run by the illustrious jazz saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. Once again, she brought warmth, sophistication and rock-n-roll edge to the table, leading another cast of fine musicians including RIchard Hammond, Robin Macatangay, Tony Mason, Chris Cheek and her husband Jim Whitney. Selections produced by Elie Massias and Dan Stein, the album features songs of love, ambivalence and freedom.
In 2008, Debbie and Jim welcomed their son Julian to the world. In the years to come, Debbie became very involved with Julian’s public elementary school, PS 130 in Kensington, Brooklyn. It was a place where she felt she could contribute her time and energy. She co-founded the PS 130 Music Committee with other PS 130 musician parents—pianist Bennett Paster and bassist John Montagna. Debbie also co-founded the PS 130 Music Festival which is now an annual event.
Throughout it all, Debbie has been a busy piano teacher. For the past two decades, she has nurtured generations of young piano students. Teaching music is a big part of her life.
Debbie’s performance highlights include a tour of Japan with renowned jazz pianist George Colligan. She also played a featured role in the off-Broadway show “A Pure Gospel America”. And, she was honored to sing the first ever National Anthem at the Barclays Center for the inaugural Brooklyn Nets game.
2018 has found Debbie in the studio once again, working on her new album. This recording features more of her original music, with Chris Thomas on bass and Brian Blade on drums, and with engineer extraordinaire Rich Lamb co-producing. 12 songs are in process…