Leslie Pintchik

So Glad to Be Here

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Leslie Pintchik initially was working toward a career as an English professor, but her discovery of jazz motivated her to become a pianist and composer. This CD marks her debut as a leader, joined by bassist Scott Hardy (who is her husband) and drummer Satoshi Takeishi. The session begins with two standards, but with a twist. "All the Things You Are" almost seems in danger of overexposure, but the intricate Latin-flavored arrangement brings out new ideas from within this old chestnut, with superb playing by all three musicians. Irving Berlin's "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" is somewhat more obscure. It comes from the mid-'40s film Blue Skies, originally sung by Bing Crosby. Pintchik's delicate, swinging treatment, with Hardy's pulsing bass and Takeishi's off-center brushwork may very well direct other players to this long-hidden gem. She perfectly captures the playfulness of Thelonious Monk's "We See," delivering a jaunty interpretation. The remainder of the date showcases strong original compositions. Hardy contributed the breezy samba "Scamba." Pinthcik's "Hopperesque" is rather exotic, especially due to Takeishi's fascinating percussion. Her "Let's Get Lucky" is a Brazilian-flavored gem that alternates between a laid-back feeling and a driving intensity. The squealing of cymbals and ominous percussion introduce "Mortal," though the mood turns bittersweet as the pianist finally makes her entrance, almost suggesting powerful emotion coming forth after the sudden end of a romance. Takeishi's percussion seems to add a bit of turmoil into this powerful work. Leslie Pintchik's brilliant debut aptly displays her enormous gifts as a composer, arranger and pianist.

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