By Stephen Sorokoff for Broadway World
Put Lang Lang, Billy Joel, and Harry Connick into a blender and you will create something approaching the excitement of Peter Cincotti. Add in a dose of Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles and you’re getting close to the final product. To my ears there is nothing better than the special bonding and coordination a singer pianist has. The fingers know exactly how to wrap around the vocal chords and Peter can do that extraordinary well….but last night at The Cutting Room, it was a Long Way From Home, which is the title of his newest album. Peter has a huge fanbase and the exuberant, demographically diverse audience were joining in on some of the new refreshing songs coming from this innovative composer/singer/pianist. The exhilaration and musical arousal created by his piano playing reminded me of the description of the effect the great classical pianist Franz Liszt had on his audiences, who on occasion, could not control their enthusiasm. I must say I was taken by surprise at the start of Peter’s performance. A tall, thin guy sneaked onto the stage, who I thought was the best-looking piano tuner I’d ever seen. It looked like he was about to prepare the strings for the hammering they would soon endure, but it was Peter who put his hands on the keys, and his brilliant overwhelming technique and creativity let loose. This was a show in every sense of the word.
Peter learned how to play the instrument at the same age he learned how to walk and talk. It’s as integral to him as the bare essential elements of life. “It wasn’t something that I ever thought about doing, it was just something I did,” he recalls, “And as I got older, I consciously walked the line of learning more, and learning too much. The minute it gets too cerebral, it’s over.”
A born and bred New Yorker, Cincotti spent much of his childhood going to school during the day and playing clubs at night. Legendary music producer Phil Ramone was there one of those nights, a discovery that led Ramone to produce Peter’s debut album which reached #1 on the Billboard jazz charts, making 18-year old Cincotti the youngest artist ever to do so.
Since then, Peter has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues from Carnegie Hall to L’Olympia in Paris, collaborated with artists ranging from Andrea Bocelli to David Guetta, been featured in blockbuster films such as Spider-Man 2, represented the global fashion brands Ermenegildo Zegna and Tod’s, and recently appeared as himself in Season 3 of the hit Netflix series, House Of Cards.
Along the way, his vibrant and socially-aware songwriting caught the ear of Grammy winner David Foster, who produced Cincotti’s third album East Of Angel Town, yielding the song “Goodbye Philadelphia” which became a smash hit overseas, reaching the Top Ten on Pop Radio charts across Europe.