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Leslie Pintchik: In the Nature of Things

Dan McClenaghan By

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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 and alto flute to float satiny harmonies behind his core trio. Pintchik, expanding her quartet mode to a sextet, adds Steve Wilson's alto saxophone and Ron Horton's flugelhorn, arranged by the set's bassist, Scott Hardy, for a similar effect.

Opening with her original "With You In Mind," the horns paint subtle colors as a backdrop for the rest of the group, including drummer Michael Sarin and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. Pintchik's touch is sparklingly exquisite, and Wilson gets a brief sax solo on this gorgeous five minutes of music.

"I'd Turn Back If I Were You," another Pintchik tune, brings to mind one of of Herbie Hancock's more overlooked albums, the rhythm-heavy Inventions and Dimensions (Blue Note Records, 1963), a trio outing with an added percussionist, Oscavaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez. Here, the rhythms of Takeishi, Sarin and Hardy are fabulous, and maybe they're Latin-flavored, maybe not, but they definitely keep the effervescence popping in the rhythmic stew.

The standard "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" is the only non-Pintchik tune of the set. Pintchik lays it down with a deceptive simplicity, no horns added, with her and bassist Hardy acting as equal partner in the exploration of the pure loveliness of the melody.

"Luscious" opens with Pintchik's stellar pianism of full display. The band is locked in. Wilson solos superbly. The lush, cool horn harmonies kick in, and then the ebullient "Sparkle" glimmers to life, with a warm flugelhorn solo from Ron Horton, followed by Sarin on alto, and by now it's obvious that Pinchik has crafted her most ambitious and beautiful outing to date.

Track Listing: With You In Mind; I'd Turn Back If I Were You; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face; Luscious; Sparkle; Terse Tune; Ripe; Ready!; There You Go.

Personnel: Leslie Pintchik: piano; Steve Wilson: alto and soprano saxophones (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7); Ron Horton: trumpet and flugelhorn (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7); Scott Hardy: bass; Michael Sarin: drums; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion

Title: In the Nature of Things | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Pintch Hard Records

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