Jan 10, 2022
Having spent four decades on the New York City jazz scene, pianist Pete Malinverni has crossed paths with countless revered artists and come away with a host of tales to tell. But few moments measure up to the time that Malinverni met the iconic composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein.
The seeds planted in that meeting decades ago come to fruition on Malinverni’s new album, On the Town – Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein. This top-notch trio recording reimagines nine Bernstein favorites, along with a new Malinverni original penned in tribute to the composer.
The band is Malinverni’s bassist of choice, Ugonna Okegwo, and for the first time, the legendary drummer Jeff Hamilton. Malinverni’s first opportunity to pay tribute to Bernstein arrived on the occasion of the composer’s 2018 centennial, when the pianist was commissioned to arrange many of these pieces for a four-horn ensemble featuring Joe Lovano at Purchase College, where Malinverni is Chair of the Jazz Studies Program. But when it came time to record the music, he determined to pare the music down to a trio setting.
Pete has recorded fourteen times as a leader, including in solo piano, trio, quartet, quintet, big band and choral contexts. Throughout his time in NYC, Malinverni has performed and recorded with a host of masters including Joe Lovano, Mel Lewis, Dennis Irwin, Jon Faddis, Karrin Allyson, Steve Wilson and more. Malinverni serves as Head of Jazz Studies at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, State University of New York. If that’s not enough to keep him busy, there is work at the Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn (Minister of Music), the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY (Pianist and Conductor) and the Pound Ridge Community Church (Director of Music).
Podcast 874 is my conversation with Peter, as we discuss the wonderful story of his meeting with Leonard Bernstein during a solo gig, the recording of On the Town, and how he penned a musical tribute to the maestro to close out the album. Musical selections include “Lucky to Be Me” and “A Night on the Town.”