Peter Cincotti

Peter Cincotti

Concord Records, 2003

http://www.petercincotti.com

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/27/2003

What can you say about a nineteen-year-old jazz genius who was the youngest performer to ever play the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York? In the case of Peter Cincotti, about all you can say is 'wow'. Just…wow.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There's a lot of hype behind this Columbia University sophomore's debut release. Phil Ramone, who has produced and worked with Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, and Stevie Wonder, was brought on board as producer, and given his lauds for Cincotti's work one wonders if he volunteered. A review written by Rex Reed in the New York Observer said, in part, 'this much talent, polish, and virtuosity in a teenager may not even be legal.' So, the question becomes -- is it worth the hype? In a word, yes.

Cincotti's voice is smoky, rich, and expressive. He counts Harry Connick Jr as an influence, and there's definite coloring there, but Cincotti's style is all his own. He embraces lyrics like they were good friends, his articulation neat and crisp yet smooth and easy; a perfect jazz voice, immediately invoking smoky bars and cool lights (bars in which Cincotti couldn't even drink). His piano playing is stellar as well; he takes on jazz standards like "Miss Brown" and jazz interpretations of pop classics like "Spinning Wheel" with equal, elegant facility.

There are very few miscues on this CD. Cincotti's version of Billie Holliday's "Comes Love" is wistful and poignant; he nails the bittersweet lyrics with expression and passion. The next track he suddenly segues into ultra-cool with a Las Vegas take on Dean Martin's "Sway." Other covers include Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" and Carmen MacRae's "Miss Brown," both excellent. His own compositions, including the defiant "I Changed The Rules" and "Lovers, Secrets and Lies," are great as well. The only miscue -- and it's a minor one -- is, of all things, Cincotti's take on "Rainbow Connection," which lacks passion.

Peter Cincotti is a name to remember -- and we'll have a lot of time to do so. Get on the bandwagon early.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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