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MARIETTA, OH, USA - The push behind 19-year-old singer/pianist Peter Cincotti has been rolling along its merry way for several months. Vanity Fair magazine, always ahead of the curve, calls Cincotti "a wunderkind with a very hot CD." Despite his lack of much experience on Planet Earth, Cincotti has become an overnight success through plenty of experience. He was playing the piano at age three and became a protégé at seven of the pop singer Harry Connick, Jr. His first major review came from the New York Times last year, with the headline, "18 and Going on Legend."
Now Cincotti's first CD, "Peter Cincotti," (Concord Records) shows that all the screaming publicity wasn't exaggerating. This fellow, who's as handsome as his singing voice and plays piano with the confidence of a jazz veteran, takes only a couple of tracks on the album to turn even the most avid cynic turn into a follower. This guy has it and he knows what to do with it. And he has paid homage to his childhood heroes, including the piano sensation, the late Erroll Garner. Strangely, studying Garner, a genius who couldn't read a note of music and played like he had at least 20 fingers at his disposal, Cincotti has adopted an economical style that has him playing just the right number of notes. He has no need to show off his abilities on those 88 keys. And the listener won't mind.
The album contains three originals, with the words supplied by Cincotti's mother, who has quite a nice touch, the lyrics calm and not trying to show off the singing voice of her son. When you hear Cincotti sing, you'll be astonished at the handsome one's talent. His voice would have seemed right at home in the '50's. Cincotti, quite fetching to the young ladies, would have been comfortable substituting for Mr. Sinatra in an afternoon set at the Paramount Theater in New York City, performing in front of several thousand screaming teenagers.
Newsweek magazine recently suggested that Cincotti might become next year's Norah Jones. She's the young lady who needed a wheelbarrow to carry home all the Grammy goodies. Last year, no one had heard of her, either.
Respected jazz critic Stephen Holden, writing in the New York Times, wrote, "Mr. Cincotti articulates every syllable in elegant, long-lined phrasing that infuses lyrics with an elastic sense of swing. Few young pop singers exhibit such impressive breath control and mastery of dynamics."
What about the album? While it's not perfect, few albums are these days. But Cincotti shows a huge amount of talent that's bound to improve as he adds a few years to his resume. There's no question that he has talent as a composer. Every track on the disc shows massive talent that needs a bit more maturity, which should turn him into a major big thing of the early 2000's.
I've been listening to this CD for more than a week and I have enjoyed every single minute of the presentation. His opening song, "I Changed the Rules," might make some listeners think of Harry Connick, Jr., who once called Peter upon the stage to entertain. Cincotti was seven at the time.
The album contains a host of highlights, including a clever joining of "The Fool on the Hill" and the '50s hit, "Nature Boy."
A gorgeous song from "The Godfather" film, "Come Live Your Life With Me," will please anyone who's ever been romantic. Finally, the touching "Rainbow Connection," a classic tune from "The Muppets" receives the best reading I've heard.
Peter Cincotti should become a household name not long from now.
Smile! Smile! Smile!I have to admit that I don't know the proper name of the music played by The Palm Beach Society Orchestra. There are moments that sound rooted in Dixieland, but not quite. And when this spectacular group gets all grooves sizzling, this fantastic band seems like a predecessor to the likes of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. But the Palm Beach Society Orchestra doesn't need to explain itself. Just listening will make you glad that you own CD equipment and had the good fortune to invest in a copy of "When You're Smiling" (Arbors Records).
My oh my! What a sheer delight is contained in this wonderful collection of great music performed by some of the best musicians you'll want to hear perform again and again. The music lined up for this package will make your mouth water.
The album opens with "When You're Smiling," followed by a snazzy version of "Sugar," then a lovely arrangement of "I Would Do Anything for You." Singer Michelle Amato and Bob Leary, lead guitarist, sing separately on six of the tracks.
Salute to Bix Beiderbecke's 100thLast week musicians everywhere paused for a moment to remember the 100th birthday of the Bix Beiderbecke. The centennial of the world-renowned horn player, who died 72 years ago, is being observed with the release of "Celebrating Bix" (Arbor Records).
Arbors went to extreme lengths to record an album that pays proper tribute. Solos are supreme and some of the best talents in jazz are involved in an album which should be played with reverence for decades to come. Beiderbecke's solos are handled by three cornet players: Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart and Randy Sandke.
Songs picked for the CD include some of the most familiar pieces in all of jazz, including "Jazz Me Blues," "I'm Coming Virginia," and "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans."
Included in the package is a 40-page insert that offers lots of information on Beiderbecke and the musicians on this date.
This would make a terrific gift for the jazz fan in your house or neighborhood.
Short TakesLatin music remains high on my list of favorites. If you enjoy such performers as Gipsy Kings or Buena Vista Social Club, then sample the music of Los Ninos de Sara on their new CD, "Gipsyole!" (Intentcity Records). The band contains some of the musicians from the group Alabina. The sound quality is precise and the music is the kind that forces at least one foot to keep time. There's an intensity about the album which should win the band many new followers.
The debut release by Waterbone (Intentcity Records) will catch the ears of all those remember the good old days when New World music was heard regularly on late-night radio. It's soothing and doesn't demand full attention. If you've got a good book in your hands at bedtime, Waterbone is the band for you to stay with all the night long.
Bob Powers always is interested in hearing from record distributors who deal in jazz, rock, folk, and anything that's good. For instructions on getting your album reviewed, contact him at email@example.com.
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