04 JUN 12 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Peter Cincotti was the young face of the new jazz scene when his first CD, Peter Cincotti, was released in 2003. At 19, he won the piano competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival and was holding court at the Algonquin Hotel's venerable Oak Room. But during the course of his later albums, there's been a gradual shift away from the standards and into fresh and original pop. With Metropolis, his fourth and latest release, the transformation is complete.
In "Do Or Die," the narrator finds himself in his workplace elevator with a girl he's been crushing on from afar. With only a few floors to make a first impression, his desperation is palpable as he searches for an opening line. As he sings in the bridge, "Don't wanna bite my tongue/stay inside my head like this." One of the album's standouts is "Madeline," a poignantly sad story about the girl who got away and the shadow she throws over a new relationship.
Cincotti's more than just girl-crazy, though -- like most people his age, he's got concerns about where we're going as a society. "Graffiti Wall" opens with news reports from the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, moving to a more personal wall where he watches the world around him swirling out of control. "Nothing's Enough" speaks to our era of instant gratification on steroids made possible by smart phones, social networking and thousand-channel cable TV. Extra points on this tune for Cincotti's use of a Farfisa-sounding keyboard, that tinny proto-electric keyboard favored in the '60s by groups ranging from the Animals to the Monkees.