Carnegie Hall, June 24, 2004:
The Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season and I am proud of my ongoing participation and growing affiliation with this prestigious jazz music organization. Tonight’s event marks the second concert review assignment from Festival Productions. I want to thank Anne McDermott, Simon Rentner and Charlie Bourgeois for making the arrangements and facilitating my continued ability to review jazz performances here at the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City.
My sister Jessica and I have an uneventful ride to Carnegie Hall on a gorgeous, sunny and less humid evening in June. We are in the immediate vicinity early and can relax before the show, which is crucial to focusing and fully enjoying the concert. I have complementary press seats for me +1 for tonight’s show. The audience files in quite late for the 8:00 P.M. performance. The house looks full, but is not sold out, for the great Dianne Reeves.
At 8:07 P.M., Peter Cincotti takes the stage. He forms a quartet with his accompanying musicians. The opening tune is an upbeat swing tempo with the tenor saxophone, Scott Kreitzer, featured on the lead melody. Peter Cincotti executes a lively and bright piano solo that further embellishes the melodic theme. The drummer, Willie Jones 3rd, displays paramount stick action while the tenor remains strong. The bass solo, Barak Mori, contrasts lows and highs as he easily canvasses the fret board effortlessly. A brief Latin change adds to the overall cohesive presentation of this arrangement.
Peter Cincotti is featured on vocals for the next arrangement, “Comes Love.” Peter steps away from the piano to present a slow, moody and soothing vocal; accompanied by a deliberate and thoughtful bass line. The tenor joins in with ‘fat’ sustain notes to complement the melodic progression. The bassist walks delicately as the tune carefully meanders along.
Peter introduces the next song after thanking the audience. He informs us of the very special nature of tonight’s performance, to him personally, because he is a native New Yorker born right here in Manhattan. The next composition, “The Girl I Knew,” is a Peter Cincotti composition, in both words and music. The intro is stark and sparse with only vocal and piano. The drummer soon adds soothing percussive accompaniment with a brush and a stick. The musical mood is sensual and sultry, but personal and delicate. The ensemble is restrained and reserved, executing a nice change and demonstrating easily controlled dynamic flow from loud to quite. The song has a bluesy-jazz feel that complements the interesting lyrical storyline.
The next musical entry, “Sway,” is a laid-back Latin arrangement with the trio only. Scott Kreitzer, tenor, has left the stage. Peter displays nice phrasing on his sensuous vocal delivery. A very succinct and staccato piano accompanies the reserved and quite band chart. Peter plays an excellent piano solo, leading to a driving crescendo and big ending. The next song is an up-tempo swing arrangement, showcasing the tenor on melodic lead and the bassist on an exuberant walking bass pattern. The drummer is slick and smooth, effortlessly executing flawless paradittles in a fiery swing groove. The tenor lead remains strong and then Peter takes an excellent piano solo. The standup bass solo is hot with brush accents and piano fills to add inventive musical colors. The bassist has a strong walking style that is tasteful and controlled. The drummer’s solo is smokin’ and shows his excellent chops on the trap set.
Peter gives a warm tribute to Ray Charles and performs an endearing rendition of, “You Don’t Know Me.” The intro is simple and straightforward vocal and piano. The soft brush technique and slow and deliberate walking bass complement perfectly with the delicate musical presentation. The tenor is slow and moody in an answer/response passage to the vocal phrasing. The tenor solo is gutsy as he smoothly embellishes the melodic development.
Peter introduces the next composition by informing the audience he is playing Bobby Darin’s arranger, Dick Behrke, in a movie tribute to the short-lived singer; starring Kevin Spacey. Peter actually gets to meet Dick Behrke at a friend’s studio on a surprise encounter. Peter sings, “I Love Paris In The Spring.” The arrangement features the drummer’s disco beat with brushes. The excellent piano solo, the best of the evening, is lively, creative and inspiring. This is a memorable tribute to Bobby Darin. Peter plays a Billy Joel song next, “New York State Of Mind.” The piano into is very up-tempo and gives way to a slow vocal delivery of the lyric. Peter returns to a double time piano accompaniment between verses, which remain deliberate and emphatic. The band flows into an excellent musical groove; featuring an inspired tenor solo. There is a nice key change to a strong finish.
The final song, “I Love Being Here With You,” is a lively and invigorating up-tempo arrangement. The band really swings as the tenor solo sails, strong and sweet. The drummer executes strong and succinct rhythmic accents, as the tenor wails his highest sustain notes of the performance.
Peter Cincotti and his band put on an excellent show tonight. The group displays excellent balance and control to creatively showcase Peter’s superior piano and vocal delivery. Individual musicians are specially featured to illustrate their creative instrumental abilities. The audience appreciates the collective musical effort as they stand to applaud a magnificent performance.
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