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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: In the Nature of Things

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Leslie Pintchik begins her explorations on her fourth CD with a musical sunrise of soft, shimmering colors that grows into a bright and energetic day. From this appealing opener, “With You in Mind," she instantly distinguishes herself from the legions of jazz composers who confuse “personal expression" with self-indulgent noodling that shows little concern for story or melody. In contrast, Pintchik composes memorable tunes that tell a coherent tale: here, the story is usually light-spirited and swinging, with flashes of playfulness, and all of it gets superb support from her well-seasoned band. Highlights are hard to pick at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: In the Nature of Things

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Pianist Leslie Pintchik takes advantage her her New York home base on her recordings by enlisting some of the city's most innovative musicians to help her share her vision. On previous three CD releases Pintchik has sculpted a seductive sound that combines the cerebral with engaging and beautiful, much in the mode of piano legend Herbie Hancock. And here, on her In the Nature of Things she treads softly on more of a Hancock influence, that of his exceptional 1968 Blue Note Records album, Speak Like a Child. Under the influence of composer/arranger Gil Evans, Hancock used flugelhorn, bass trombone ...

INTERVIEWS

Leslie Pintchik: Two Different Kinds of Art

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The title of Leslie Pintchik's third album, We're Here To Listen (Pintch Hard Records, 2010), says much about the pianist and composer's musical philosophy. She recognizes the importance of technical skill, but she also values instinct, the open mind and the dismissal of boundaries between musical genres. It's an approach that Pintchik emphasizes throughout this interview, conducted by phone from her New York home. It's also readily identifiable in her writing, her playing and her selection of songs by other writers. The result is a body of work that is often understated yet always evocative and beautiful. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: We're Here To Listen

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Pianist Leslie Pintchik's Quartets (Ambient , 2007) featured two innovations on the piano trio format. On half the tracks, the basic trio of Pintchik, bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Mark Dodge, was joined by saxophonist Steve Wilson, and on the other half by percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. The saxophone being what it is, the Wilson tracks tended to stand out. But the Takeishi tracks have arguably held more lasting interest. This is, after all, the instrumentation chosen by Herbie Hancock on his underappreciated Inventions & Dimensions (Blue Note, 1963), on which percussionist Osvaldo “Chihuahua" Martínez complemented drummer Willie Bobo. So it's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: We're Here to Listen

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Leslie Pintchik inhabits an ocean of sound by herself and much more with her trio. The pianist creates her own ebb, and rip currents with the undulating swell of her playing. Her technique is flawless, and she has a natural tendency for irony, and even humor, as she simply spreads her hands on the keyboards and lets her fingers do the singing. She does, indeed, favor the vocal pursuit of music, as her songs unfurl like diaphanous arias swelling in the onrushing waves of melodies that gush forth with quiet, never-ending power. Her idiom is, at once, as highly literate ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: We're Here To Listen

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We're Here To Listen is composer and pianist Leslie Pintchik's third album. Grammatical pedants might feel that You're Here To Listen would be a more apposite title. However, Pintchik, who was once an English Literature teaching assistant at Columbia University, chose the title to emphasize the importance of musicians listening to each other as they perform, and the performances on We're Here To Listen lend an honesty to the title. This is an exquisite quartet with an understanding of each others' playing that comes from years of experience as well as from an ability to listen in the moment.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: Quartets

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How to keep the exacting piano-trio format fresh sounding? Leslie Pintchik rises to that challenge by making the trio a quartet. Not one or many quartets, but two quartets. The strategy is a successful one.On five tracks, pianist Pintchik, bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Mark Dodge are joined by percussionist Satoshi Takeishi (the brother of trumpeter Cuong Vu's pile-driving bassist Stomu Takeishi; the mind reels at the thought of a Takeishi-Takeishi duet). The idea here is not so much to create a mini-Latin jazz orchestra, as Nachito Herrera did with the same configuration on his fine Live at ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Leslie Pintchik: Quartets

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Leslie Pintchik Quartets Ambient Records 2007

Both quartets on Quartets include pianist Leslie Pintchik, bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Mark Dodge. One quartet extends its percussion section with Satoshi Takeishi, who played drums and percussion on Pintchik's first release, So Glad to Be Here (Ambient Records, 2004). The other quartet features Scott Wilson on alto or soprano saxophone.A strength of this disc is its three standards, inventively arranged by Pintchik and Hardy. “Happy Days Are Here Again" moves at a stately pace, starting with an aura of hushed wonder, enhanced by Takeishi's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: Quartets

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For her second album, pianist Leslie Pintchik has chosen an unusual musical motif. While her debut, Glad to be Here (Ambient, 2004), featured a piano trio, Quartets presents two distinctly different ensembles: one with Pintchik, alongside percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Mark Dodge; the other with alto/soprano saxophonist, Steve Wilson replacing Takeishi. The music of the two quartets is quite different: Wilson is the primary voice of the four songs--all written by Pintchik--on which he appears, making this combo sound like, well, the Steve Wilson Quartet.

The album begins unexpectedly with a down-tempo version of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: Quartets

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Leslie Pintchik is a newer face on the jazz scene and Quartets is a respectable contribution that keeps in tide with her growing reputation. Pintchik's approach to jazz does not rely on flashy lines or complex chordal movement like many of her peers; instead, it focuses on strong improvised material backed by a solid group of musicians who both complement her and add their own voice when the time comes for them to solo. Quartets is no exception to her refreshingly subtle style. Understated though it may be, Quartets never lacks the ability to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: Quartets

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Pianist Leslie Pintchik, an adept interpreter of American Songbook classics and a composer of beautifully melodic tunes, emerged on the jazz scene in 2004 with the trio set So Glad to Be Here (Ambient Records). AAJer John Kelman, in his review of the disc, wrote of her inhabiting a “dangerously occupied middle ground, [with] a trick up her sleeve...Satoshi Takeishi."On Quartets Pintchik pulls Takeishi out of that sleeve again on five of the nine tracks, along with drummer Mark Dodge and bassist Scott Hardy, in an enhanced piano trio mode for the first of the two “quartets." The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: So Glad To Be Here

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Pianist Leslie Pintchik and her bassist/husband, Scott Hardy, have invited percussionist Satoshi Takeishi into their cozy fold for a distinctive staging of the traditional jazz piano trio. The recipe succeeds, surprisingly well at times, as Takeishi adds his singular voice to Pintchik's melodic playing on So Glad to Be Here. Although the Kern/Hammerstein opener, “All the Things You Are," begins innocently enough, almost immediately Takeishi's expressively delicate percussive pots and pans captivate. Against Hardy's firm foundation, Pintchik has a refined touch that is elegantly able to mesh with the assortment of gongs, cymbals, rattles and tuned drums that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: So Glad To Be Here

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As album debuts go, So Glad To Be Here is a noteworthy one for pianist Leslie Pintchik and her trio. The album begins with two standards and ends with Monk's “We See." Everything else is a Pintchik original, with one composition from bassist Scott Hardy.The pianist was a graduate student at Columbia University pursuing a career in teaching English Literature when she decided to change directions. In the mid 1980s, she was selected by West Coast bassist Red Mitchell, who was returning the U.S. after several years in Stockholm, to join him for a gig at the New ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leslie Pintchik: So Glad to Be Here

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Pianist and composer Leslie Pintchik has played clubs in New York for several years, and it shows in the natural approach that predominates on this her first release. She gives plenty of space to skillful bassist Scott Hardy, who's also her husband, and to drummer Satoshi Takeishi, whose style is imaginative yet unobtrusive. The three players demonstrate their easy rapport on the opening standard “All the Things You Are," taken in a comfortable samba-like groove. Supporting Pintchik's supple line is the active melodic interplay of Hardy and Takeishi, the latter remarkable for his light and high percussion palette that includes ...



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