“Deanna, you’re a force of nature.” When guitarist John Shannon made this comment in the fall of 2019 at Con Alma, the Pittsburgh jazz club/ restaurant where he serves as music curator, Deanna Witkowski’s first thought was that the phrase sounded like a potential tune or album title. Force of Nature as a title encapsulates Deanna’s view of how Mary Lou Williams lived her life and of the sounds that she projected in her music. Having chosen Mary as her lifelong mentor and soul companion, it is Deanna’s unequivocal belief that Mary herself—a “force of nature”—led her to Pittsburgh. Deanna’s bold new recording brings Mary Lou Williams’s forward-thinking, experimental compositions to a new generation of fans.