PIANIST/COMPOSER LESLIE PINTCHIK RELEASES EIGHTH ALBUM PRAYER FOR WHAT REMAINS WITH STELLAR BAND ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Featuring Steve Wilson, Scott Hardy, Michael Sarin, and Satoshi Takeishi

 

“…a composer of emotional depth and effortless lyricism.” — DownBeat
“A crafty, lyrically minded improviser and a compelling composer…” — The New Yorker
“Getting lost in this music is simply a joy.” — AllAboutJazz
“…achingly beautiful…a level of intimacy that is rare today in jazz.” — JazzWax.com

 

In a personal note that follows the liner notes of her new album, Prayer for What Remains, pianist/composer Leslie Pintchik writes that the title track “was inspired by a photo taken by the war photographer Joseph Eid. In it, a man smoking a pipe in Aleppo, Syria sits in his bombed-out bedroom, listening to music on a manual gramophone that operates without electricity. A tragic image of war, yes, but one that Eid said ‘talks about life’ as well.” 

When she listened in the studio to the playback of “Prayer for What Remains,” Pintchik says she was especially moved by the performance of the musicians who played “so true to the tune’s emotional core.” And she adds, “A special shout-out to Steve Wilson for the tenderness with which he played the counter-melody, and for the passionate restraint and beauty of his solo.” 

Pintchik’s new recording, which releases on September 13, 2024, showcases her gifts as pianist, composer and arranger, and features eight of her original tunes, along with a cover of Joni Mitchell, and one from the Beatles. As on her previous albums, Pintchik performs with a touch both delicate and robust: caressing ballads like “Private Moment,” digging into hard-edged funk on “Just Sayin’” and “Request Denied!”, and swinging with effervescence on “Over Easy,” all while enjoying exceptional support from her long-time bandmates, bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Michael Sarin, and close collaborators Satoshi Takeishi on percussion and special guest Steve Wilson on saxophone.

MORE ABOUT PRAYER FOR WHAT REMAINS: 

In his liner notes for the album, Allen Morrison writes that Pintchik’s music “still doesn’t sound like anyone else’s. I always recognize her voice at the piano within a few measures… Her playing has a thoughtful, conversational quality; listening to her is like chatting with a dear, clever, complicated friend.” About Pintchik’s bandmates, he says, “The telepathy that the trio achieves on this record is something possible only after many years of close collaboration. The same uncanny synergy and creativity can be heard with the addition of Satoshi Takeishi and Wilson.”

An epic of feeling in just 28 bars,Prayer for What Remains” reflects a sense of mourning for what’s been lost, as well as a sense of beauty and hope for what might be reclaimed. The seriousness and sense of purpose in the band is striking.

A loose, bright straight-eighths original, “Later Than We Thought” features a spacious melody within a Brazilian-based groove that glides effortlessly. Since it’s always “later than we thought,” says Pintchik, the tune ends abruptly, in medias res on a sustained dominant chord. Pintchik describes the following track, “Request Denied!”, as a jagged funk tune and great fun to play with her trio – but one she’s also somewhat sorry she had the occasion to write. Its inspiration, or more accurately the harassment that induced it, was the wall-mounted basketball hoop her neighbors installed in their children’s designated playroom, which unfortunately shares a wall with her bedroom. Requests for them to move it to a different room were denied, hence the title. Let the games begin!

The lovely ballad, “Private Moment,” showcases Pintchik’s pristine touch on the piano, as well as the marvelous intimacy she shares with her bandmates. This updated version includes a solo piano statement of the melody before the band joins her. “Over Easy,” a wonderfully playful tune that Pintchik often plays as an opener in live sets, swings hard with the addition of Steve Wilson’s soprano sax. Pintchik and Wilson play the melody in unison, and their tight blend makes the melody sound as if it’s being played by one instrument. 

A pair of notable cover selections follow. Pintchik’s reharmonized version of the iconic Beatles tune “I Will” strips away the somewhat tongue-in-cheek flavor of the original, which helps to bring out the melody’s intrinsic beauty. Hardy’s more felt-than-heard acoustic guitar part adds an understated lushness. Pintchik’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “Banquet” retains the defiant quality of the original, but also adds a mournful undercurrent to the mix, particularly in the statement of the melody. The piano solo often feels more like an ensemble solo, with intense interaction among all the band members.

Open Secret” opens with an airy out-of-tempo intro by Pintchik and Takeishi, which then gives way to a raucous, samba-based groove. All told, it’s a quick shot of adrenaline which ends almost before it begins. Next up is the moving ballad, “Grief,” which features a spare performance by Pintchik and the ensemble. This stark, stripped-down reading ends with a haunting bass tremolo and Takeishi’s eerie percussion. The album’s final track is a terrific live performance of Pintchik’s intricate funk tune, “Just Sayin’,” recorded at NYC’s Jazz at Kitano. 

MORE ABOUT LESLIE PINTCHIK:

Before embarking on a career in jazz, Leslie Pintchik earned a Master of Philosophy degree in seventeenth-century English literature from Columbia University. She first surfaced on the Manhattan jazz scene in a trio with legendary bassist Red Mitchell at Bradley’s, and in the ensuing years Pintchik formed her own trio which performs regularly at New York City and East Coast jazz venues. Her trio was one of four finalists in the Cognac Hennessy Jazz Search, held at the Bottom Line in New York City.

Pintchik has performed and/or recorded with saxophonists Steve Wilson and Rich Perry, trumpeter Ron Horton, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, drummers Michael Sarin, Clarence Penn, Alvester Garnett, Mark Ferber, and Keith Copeland, and the accordion player Shoko Nagai. Pintchik’s debut album, So Glad To Be Here (2004), received four stars in DownBeat, and was followed by Quartets (2007). In 2010, she released her third album We’re Here To Listen, as well as a DVD Leslie Pintchik Quartet Live In Concert. Jim Wilke, creator of the nationally syndicated “Jazz After Hours” radio show included We’re Here To Listen on his “Best Albums of 2010” list. Pintchik’s fourth album In The Nature Of Things (2014) was followed by True North (2016). You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! (2018) reached number 4 in the country for radio spins on JazzWeek, and remained in the top 10 for five weeks. Also in 2018, two tracks from Pintchik’s albums were included in the soundtrack of Orson Welles’ final movie, The Other Side of the Wind. 2019’s release, Same Day Delivery: Leslie Pintchik Trio Live, was recorded live at NYC’s Jazz at Kitano, and received a four-star review in DownBeat that year.

Tracklisting: 

1) Prayer for What Remains (4:38) (Leslie Pintchik)

2) Later Than We Thought (5:12) (Leslie Pintchik)

3) Request Denied! (3:51) (Leslie Pintchik)

4) Private Moment (5:04) (Leslie Pintchik)

5) Over Easy (6:02) (Leslie Pintchik)

6) I Will (4:44) (John Lennon / Paul McCartney)

7) Banquet (5:28) (Joni Mitchell)

8) Open Secret (3:51) (Leslie Pintchik)

9) Grief (4:14) (Leslie Pintchik)

10) Just Sayin’ (live) (4:54) (Leslie Pintchik)

www.lesliepintchik.com

www.pintchhard.com

 

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