I listened to Peter Cincotti's set at the 2004 Playboy Jazz Festival and was blown away. Performing on June 20, 2004, Cincotti led both a small group and a big band through several pieces from his first recording, Peter Cincotti , and several from his new recording, On The Moon. In between was some Bobby Timmons ("Moanin'") and Ellington. It was an awesome set, certainly reminiscent of Harry Connick in his salad says (if that is even fair to say). Cincotti is at least as charismatic as Connick, while having that East Coast Italian appeal.
Enough of Harry Connick and visions of Sinatra...
Mr. Cincotti is a highbrow talent, perhaps exactly what the jazz world needs right now. His first recording, Peter Cincotti , was well received, recorded when the artist was a 19-year-old unknown. Eighteen months later, the better known Cincotti has grown by leaps and bounds, as evidenced at the Playboy Jazz Festival. Cincotti's excellent pianism is more accessible than the idiosyncratic Connick's, lyrical and commanding. The same may be said for his singing.
Cincotti winds his way through a variety of styles. Witness his hard bop introduction to "St. Louis Blues" and his Caribbean "Some Kind of Wonderful." "You Don't Know Me" could be Cincotti's gentle nod to the late Ray Charles, his piano certainly sounds as if it is a spiritual channel, full of country and blues but vocally delivered with grace and finesse.
"On The Moon" and "Up on the Roof" both smack of Elton John's superb and durable piano style. Cincotti dispatches both songs like they were the simplest vehicles for jazz treatment. "I Love Paris" is thrilling jarring, as was "St. Louis Blues," in the respect that it swings with the hard bop bat. The final piece, Ray Noble's "Cherokee," is played in time and double time as an instrumental, displaying Cincotti's dynamic pianism perfectly.
Peter Cincotti has fully arrived, and On The Moon will find its way to my end-of-the year list. He is destined to be something more than a mere entertainer. I suspect that he will break out and truly innovate.
Track Listing: St. Louis Blues; some Kind of Wonderful; I Love Paris; On the Moon; Bali Ha'I; We's Watching; Raise the Rood; The Girl for Me Tonight; You don't Know Me; I'd Rather Be With You; Up On The Roof; Cherokee
Personnel: Peter Cincotti--Vocals and Piano; Jeff Mironov (guitar); William Galison (harmonica); Scott Kreitzer, Brad Leali (tenor saxophone); Barry Danielian (trumpet); Gary Smulyan, Wycliffe Gordon (trombone); Sam Yahel (Hammond b-3 organ); Barak Mori (bass instrument); Mark McLean (drums, percussion); Kenny Washington (drums); Bashiri Johnson (percussion)