The group Witchi-Tai-To was formed in Spring 1999 by Keith Harrison-Broninski (piano) and Nick Sorensen (soprano and alto saxophones).
Nick and Keith first played together at the gala jazz concert "From Spirituals To Swing Revisited" at the Wiltshire Music Centre in January 1999, in an impromptu ensemble which also included didgeridoo and flute. Their debut performance, of the jazz standards Cherokee (piano solo) and Witchi-Tai-To (piano, soprano sax, didgeridoo and flute), received critical acclaim:
"Nick Sorensen … a fluent saxophonist"
"There was another fine pianist on show, with a even more unjazzlike name than Jason Rebello, … Keith Harrison-Broninski"
MILES KINGTON, The Independent
"The Wiltshire Music Centre was packed to the rafters, with the audience fervent throughout in its appreciation ….. highlights: Keith Harrison-Broninski's piano with Nick Sorensen's soprano sax"
CHARLEY DUNLAP, Bath Chronicle
Following this performance, Nick and Keith were approached for radio appearances (BBC Wiltshire Sound and WCR), commissions (BBC Wiltshire Sound documentary) and concerts so they decided to continue their association by forming Witchi-Tai-To. The group plays all original numbers, influenced by Keith and Nick's shared interest in folk music. They work closely together to get away from the usual jazz clichés, and provide music which engages the audience, jazz fans or not.
Witchi-Tai-To have a CD available, “Alive”, featuring a selection of live performances given from 1999 to 2001, priced £10.
These clips play with the free RealPlayer.
Stone (5:37) is by Nick, and is an upbeat tune we often use as a set-opener.
The Hills Will Hollow (4:53) is by Keith. It is a lyrical piece, actually a setting of a poem by Ann Harrison-Broninski but played here as an instrumental.
Witchi-Tai-To (12:22) is our version of the Jim Pepper tune, also featuring Simon Bellatti (flute) and Steve Watts (didgeridoo). It starts with a solo version of Cherokee by Keith.
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If you are interested in booking Witchi-Tai-To, contact us.
The tune Witchi-Tai-To was written by the late jazz saxophonist, Jim Pepper, who was a native American of the Creek and Caw (Plains) tribes. It is based on a ritual peyote chant, and although Jim and his family have done the original chant at numerous pow-wows down through the generations, nobody in the family seems to know the exact translation of the Comanche lyrics. The English lines "water spirit feelin' springin' 'round my head, Makes me feel glad that I'm not dead..." capture the essence of the chant.