Leslie Pintchik

"You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!"

Pinch Hard Records

If pianist and composer Leslie Pintchik has a personality anything like her playing she would be the perfect companion to join for coffee, and maybe more. Which sounds like a typical title for one of her original pieces.

Known for choosing lengthy, story-telling song titles she has called this sunnily introspective album “You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!” which is also the first track.

It turns out to be a somewhat jaunty, sidewalk-feeling excursion for her sophisticated piano trio, spiced with guitar and alto sax solos by Scott Hardy and Steve Wilson respectively. With a recorded length of 4:47 minutes, listening on ear buds and walking at a jaunty pace you could probably get from Times Square to 53rd Street.

In the liner notes Pintchik says she was crossing Canal Street at West Broadway in the Soho section of Manhattan when she heard a voice behind her yell (no doubt into a cellphone) “You eat my food, you drink my wine, you steal my girl” just when she had a new piece of music in her head that needed a title.

Which is a nice reminder that art is always around us, if we only stay alert.

After “You Eat...” come five more originals, along with a pair of standards – “I'm Glad There Is You” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” The former is played at the thoughtful pace of a Rorschach.inkblot test. The latter picks up speed with a light Latin rhythm from drummer Michael Sarin, becoming late night smoky moods that curl sensuously, reluctant to leave. A pulsing bass solo, also by Hardy, adds possibilities to the pianist's own reflections.

Pintchik is quoted saying the track expresses “a sense of life's fragility, beauty and especially shortness.”

But my favorite title, “Hopperesque,” looks to the terminally rueful painter Edward Hopper for inspiration. The composition also adds a touch of Paris cabaret life with two accordion solos by Shoko Nagai.

Appropriately fragmented, just like the anxiously foot-tapping, clock watching, finger thumping emotions that are implied in the CD's longest title, “Your Call Will Be Answered By Our Next Available Representative, In The Order In Which It Was Received. Please Stay on the Line. Your Call is Important To Us.” is this fun piece. All the players dig into their own techniques for relief from the frustrations of hanging on hold in our digital age.

It's in the closing two tracks that Pintchik opens up some new shades of happiness. The aptly named “Happy Dog” feels all floppy eared and endlessly enthusiastic. In to seal the deal is a sprightly percussion solo by Satoshi Takeishi.

Bravely closing the album with winsome insight, the expressive pianist plays “A Simpler Time.” Elegant beauty is the line, striking Pintchik's penchant for stirring together both beauty and heart, a combination nearly impossible to find in the real world.

To find a copy, http://www.lesliepintchik.com/

Lello Molinari

"Lello's Italian Job  volume 2"

Fata Morgna Music 

Lyrical melodies played with exceptional taste and style, that's what you get in this collection of a dozen wonderfully listenable jazz tracks, each one as sunny as Italy's own pastoral landscape paintings.

Neopolitan bassist and Berklee faculty member Lello Molinari has convinced two Italian-Americans and a Sicilian, all on the Berklee faculty, to join him in recording a dozen pieces that flaunt their Mediterranean cool.

The players are Marcello Pellitteri, drums, Sal DiFusco, guitar, and Dino Govoni, reeds, settling on a song list of folk tunes from the old country, beloved opera arias and pop standards. Most of the melodies will be instantly familiar.

Yet each one receives a jazz treatment that is distinctly different. Some lighter, others more sorrowful, a few quickly paced, moments so sensual you'll be biting your lip, and – of course – at least one squawking screamer just to prove these guys are no sissies sitting around smoking scented cigarettes.

Hearty red wine would be more like it, plus an ample sideboard of cheeses, salami, prosciutto,capicola, olives, artichoke hearts and...well.....you can see it all, can't you.

My personal favorite is “Torna a Surriento,” or as we say in the States, “Come Back To Sorrento,” mostly because the melody is already considered a jazz standard and Vido Musso's tenor sax solo with the Stan Kenton orchestra was a formative part of my youth.

But everything about this album is fresh, modern in sound and structure, benefiting richly from the technical skill as well as the heart of these four musicians. Govoni takes several future-ish turns playing his EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). The others add ultra-licks to prove they belong in the 21st Century, as well.

Lidio Napoletano” is an original composition “built on a short melody in the Lydian mode and created in homage to the treasured Boston band The Fringe,” says an accompanying press release, which proves to be a harmonic though abstract piece filled with open spaces and shifting time signatures, introspective in parts, then suddenly bulging with demands for more freedom.

Stringing all this together is some of Molinari's most imaginative playing,

Following promptly after on the next cut is the defiantly evergreen “Anema e Core.” But in the hands of these terminal romantics, the tempo is so slow it takes a pretty good memory just to remember what was the note they played two notes before this one. Not that anyone is in a hurry for them to finish.

To find a copy for yourself, visit www.fatamorganamusic.com