Peter Cincotti

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Peter Cincotti

Birdland, NYC, November 11,2021

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Peer Cincotti

I first became aware of Peter Cincotti in 2003 when his first CD, produced By Phil Ramone, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz charts. It has taken me 18 years since I purchased that CD to see Cincotti perform live. I waited too long. Cincotti is a very personable performer with a big voice.

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He is an excellent pianist, whose solo turns frequently drew applause. This show at Birdland featured a nice mix of old and new songs, including two of his own compositions. As a true jazz artist, each performance of a familiar song was done in Cincotti’s unique style. He is backed by a trio that really rocks and he gave each member an opportunity to do solos.

The show opened with a recording of Milton Berle reciting lyrics, which I did not know existed, to Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” This led into a very lively performance of the piece, showing off Cincotti’s vocal power and wonderful ability to play ragtime. He then stood up from the piano to perform a very moving “Heart of the City,” a song he composed during the pandemic. He pounded the piano and belted “The Killer” in a rousing tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis that had the late-show crowd really rocking. He told the interesting story of working with the legendary Ramone, as a Columbia student, to produce his debut album. He then did his unique interpretation of “Sway,” a song included in that album. His trio left him alone on stage with just his piano as he told a very touching story about his father dying the very day of his first gig at age 13, before debuting another of his compositions, “Ghost of My Father.” He played a super-fast piano solo à la Fats Waller on Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehaving.” Cincotti closed with a very different but really enjoyable rocking version of “New York State of Mind.” After the applause died down he returned to the stage for his encore, “St. Louis Blues,” featuring lengthy solos by each of the musicians.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.