Peter Cincotti’s first self-titled CD, released by Concord, was an unqualified success. As a result, he joined the growing list of jazz/pop singers who possess the talent, looks and multi-media appeal to prosper in the increasingly competitive entertainment market. Like that of some of the other singers who swell the fortunes of the labels they represent, Cincotti’s musical career is based on already established styles and on oft-heard standards that lend themselves to singer/pianist combinations. The one common influence, apparently, in the music of all of these singers is the recently departed Ray Charles. Cincotti, who opened for Charles during some of his concerts after they both joined Concord, acknowledges the inestimable talent of Charles with a straightforward version of "You Don’t Know Me," absent the strings and horn arrangements of some of the other tracks on On The Moon.
Despite his relative youth, Cincotti, at 21 years of age and a New York City native, already has almost a decade of experience singing in Manhattan locales, performing in off-Broadway plays, captivating audiences at jazz festivals, and earning the distinction of being the youngest artist to play the hallowed Algonquin Room. Indeed, Cincotti’s father passed away from a heart attack outside a club where Cincotti was playing at the age of thirteen,
and On The Moon
is dedicated to Fred Cincotti. Now, Cincotti is moving on to other media as he accepts a part in the Kevin Spacey movie, Beyond The Sea,
which is based on the life of Bobby Darin, not to mention Cincotti’s photo sessions highlighting his aptitude as a fashion plate for promoting the latest styles offered by upscale haberdasheries.
Cincotti’s new CD brings attention to his songwriting skills, as four of the tunes are originals interwoven with the standards that he chose to record. So consistent with the spirit of the rest of the music are they that one would think that they are little-known standards that the listener hadn’t heard yet. They’re consistent in mood, in theme, in rhythm, in rhyme. The title song itself sets up the mood of the CD with the combination of time-honored lunar symbolism, unrequited feelings and insistent rhyme: "You know I care for you/But pretend and lead me on, that’s all you do/I tried to still believe, but now I’m through.... ." On the other hand, "He’s Watching" appears to be a song of belief, perhaps spiritual, certainly personal, as Cincotti feels apparently his father’s presence when he continues to face new challenges and opportunities: "He lives within the heavens/And he lives within my mind/And all that I can feel is the love he left behind./And then he will whisper in my ear./He tells me I should know he’s watching."
Combined with the personal feelings are songs of fun, starting with "St. Louis Blues," arranged, ironically enough, as a New Orleans street march and thereby allowing for Cincotti not only to sing, but also to introduce the CD with his piano playing over Barak Mori’s loping bass lines. Cincotti does the same thing on "Bali Ha’i," which he converts from the willowy, mystical version from South Pacific
into an infectious funk version with William Galison’s mewling harmonica. Same thing with "I Love Paris," on which a dollop of strings are served, but eventually they get out of the way of Cincotti’s piano work, oddly enough injecting Latin-derived clavé into the Gallic theme. And then "Raise The Roof" indeed is intended to raise the roof of concert halls with its rousing energy and commands such as these: "Let’s call the shots./Let’s make a scene./Let’s hope the gods of love/Will shine above and show the way."
At this point, Cincotti’s persona has been well defined to his audiences and his future appears to be boundlessly promising. At an age where he now can legally sign a contract and as he supercharges the ascent of a musical career from the strength of a single CD, Cincotti had recorded another doubtlessly popular CD that will be snapped up by all sorts of music lovers within various demographic segments. As he continues to marvel at the good fortune that he has experienced in so short an amount of time and as he writes about his feelings of wonder and appreciation, Peter Cincotti will be shaping a career well worth following as public awareness of his talent grows.