Home Music album Pianist Pete Malinverni releases new album

Pianist Pete Malinverni releases new album

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After spending four decades on the New York jazz scene, pianist Pete Malinverni has crossed paths with countless revered artists and left with plenty of stories to tell. But few moments live up to when Malinverni met iconic composer / conductor Leonard Bernstein. The seeds planted at that reunion decades ago are coming to fruition on Malinverni’s mind-boggling new album, On the Town – Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein. To be released on January 14, 2022 via Planet Arts Recordings, the album reinvents nine Bernstein favorites, as well as a new Malinverni original written in homage to the composer, for a trio of stars consisting of bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Jeff Hamilton. .

At the time of this fateful encounter, Malinverni was having a regular gig at an upscale restaurant in town. One night, the chic nightclub was chosen as the site for the opening night of Franco Zeffirelli’s production of “Tosca” at the Metropolitan Opera. As Malinverni played a selection of tunes on the piano, Bernstein walked in and the young pianist immediately embarked on the composer’s “Lucky To Be Me”. Bernstein acknowledged the tribute and, after a detour to the men’s restroom (where a friend of Malinverni broke polite society protocols and extolled the virtues of the pianist), spent a considerable part of the evening hanging out around some piano.

Malinverni still remembers the meeting – which included presentations to other party notables, including legendary songwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green – as “one of the great moments in my musical life.” To this day, he remains touched by Bernstein’s magnetic attraction to musicians of all stature.

“His public image was that of a guy who knew his stuff and was super passionate. But I found out that night that as passionate as he seemed, he was even more so. When I saw him. in the flesh, it was electric. His head slid through the clouds, and the piano seemed sort of a more elated place then and after. “

If that wasn’t enough to inspire him, the story takes another slight turn: Some time later, Malinverni befriends a bartender at one of the nightclubs he performs regularly, including his wife. is Bernstein’s personal chef. The composer had given him a wad of blank papers, which the bartender then offered to Malinverni. The pianist hung on to it for almost thirty years, only to use it to write the arrangements for this recording. “The last arrangement I had to write turned out to use the last piece of staff paper I had left,” recalls Malinverni. “I’m always looking for signs, and it made everything feel good.”

Exploring these brilliant songs with such a talented and intuitive trio was also incredibly good. Malinverni’s first opportunity to pay homage to Bernstein came on the composer’s centenary in 2018, when the pianist was commissioned to arrange several of these pieces for a four-horn ensemble featuring Joe Lovano at Purchase College. , where Malinverni is president of jazz studies. Program. But when the time came to record the music, he decided to reduce the music to a trio setting.

Another bond Malinverni shares with Bernstein is a deep love for New York City. Through his selection of tunes from the composer’s work, Malinverni also made the album a love letter to the metropolis that he has called his home since descending from his hometown of Niagara Falls in 1980. Titles like “New York New York”, which opens the album, and “Lonely Town” make the reference explicit; other tracks are taken from Big Apple-centric shows like “Wonderful Town”, “West Side Story” and “On the Town”.

To learn more about Pete Malinverni, click here.

Stream Over The City – Pete Malinverni plays Leonard Bernstein on SoundCloud now.