Killer On The Keys

Peter Cincotti

Freddy Eggs Records , 2023

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Longtime readers of the DV know that I’m a big fan of New York-based songwriter/pianist Peter Cincotti. Living somewhere in the fertile ground between Billy Joel and Tony Bennett, Cincotti spins his songs accompanied by his ever-present piano, laced with an extraordinary ability to write songs that hit right between the heart and the gut.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

His latest album, Killer On The Keys, is a love letter to those “88 Keys” (yes, that’s one of the songs, and it’s quite good) he makes a living on. A mixture of covers and originals, the album features a sound that’s stripped down a bit from previous outings; less lush string arrangements, more keyboard flourishes. Production is tight; the sound is very, very good. Cincotti has something to say here, and he does it through a carefully chosen selection of songs.

Covers include one of the more interesting versions of “Poker Face” I’ve ever heard. Frankly, I’m still trying to decide if I like it; it’s got a touch of novelty about it, as if Cincotti was doing this just because he could rather than thinking about if he should.

That aside, the other covers—ranging from jazz classics like “Sweet Lorraine” and “The Entertainer” to excellent versions of Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind” and Ben Folds’ “Brick”—hit the nail on the head. Cincotti seems to have fun with these, which is a bit jarring when you consider what “Brick” is about. A version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” doesn’t do much new with the song, but it’s competent and pleasant, and Cincotti’s version improves “Viva La Vida.”

His originals are magnificent. “Ghost Of My Father” became an immediate classic of mine, and the title track is a romp through name-checking his various influences.

Overall, Killer On The Keys is a good album, but not a great one. There are just a couple of miscues that keep it from being genius, but it’s still worth your time.

Rating: B

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