A superb musical alchemist, Peter Eldridge synthesizes modern jazz with not only pop but also R&B and Latin music. The results are varied and dynamic but also aesthetically focused, as Eldridge's mellifluous baritone and urbane lyrics brim with pop accessibility. - John Murph, JazzTimes
Peter Eldridge belongs in the celebrated tradition of melodic poets, most famously represented by such disparate voices as Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Steely Dan -- singer/songwriters who write catchy, beautiful tunes with insightful lyrics that are both personal and universal. - Judith Schlesinger, All Music Guide
Eldridge invests in his songs with remarkable poetry, beauty, charm and depth to spare. - David Pulizzi, Jazziz
It wouldn't necessarily be inaccurate to refer to Peter Eldridge as a 'singer-songwriter,' but that tag definitely does not fit him. Such a label just undercuts the creative brilliance behind his music, diminishing the beauty, truth, strength, wit, and compassion in his work. The man is far more than a simple spinner of songs. His is the true voice of understanding, speaking on its own terms while also capturing and expressing the emotions that we all feel. If ever there was a singular artist capable of showing us the singularity in ourselves, it's Peter Eldridge. - All About Jazz
If musical intelligence and artistry were prompters to marketplace success, Decorum would grant him stardom. . . strong, far-ranging voice . . hauntingly wistful - DownBeat
(Somewhere) …sophisticated arrangements…It’s lush without being stuffy and always classy…Peter Eldridge’s baritone timbre, used with elegant delicacy, greatly enhances this impression…clever and distinguished music… – Yves Dorison, Culture Jazz
Peter Eldridge can sing blues with great conviction, swing with great ease, caress a ballad with the best, and on his newest 'Disappearing Day', seems to have no fear taking chances with his music. - Step Tempest
His fifth studio album, Disappearing Day, with its strength in songwriting and almost tongue-in-cheek lyricism, moves his music from its deserved pedestal in jazz further into genre-blending uncharted territory. - FoundSound
Disappearing Day’—Eldridge’s fifth album to date—is an out-and-out masterpiece. It delivers a dozen of the most spellbinding tracks you’re likely to encounter in 2016. His is the true voice of understanding, speaking on its own terms while also capturing and expressing the emotions that we all feel. If ever there was a singular artist capable of showing us the singularity in ourselves, it’s Peter Eldridge. – All About Jazz
Mad Heaven showcases Eldridge as a major player in vocal jazz, an artist of extraordinary depth and conviction -Jazz Review
I am listening to Peter Eldridge’s new record, ‘Disappearing Day’. I am grinning like a fool as each new sonic joy unfolds. The instrumentation is precise, landscapes neatly drawn, each song carefully and perfectly embraced and enhanced. There’s just no category for what Peter does.
It’s simply exquisite, timeless work. - Jonatha Brooke
Peter Eldridge’s ‘Disappearing Day’ is refreshing, authentic music delivered straight from the soul. The rich harmonies and gorgeous production highlight his smooth, effortless vocals, masterful poetry, and gorgeous piano accompaniments. I’m inspired that this kind of music is still being created. – Becca Stevens
The debut album by Moss was named one of the best CDs of the past decade - Downbeat.
(MOSS) This jazz vocal supergroup has just created the greatest vocal fusion of jazz, rock and folk music since the first record by Bobby McFerrin 26 years ago.... It's as if they invented an entirely new blend of urban madrigalism for the 21st century, composed of coffee shop, jazz club, off-Broadway theater and church basement. - Jeff Simon, Buffalo News
Innovative vocal ensembles are a rare breed, and Moss is sui generis. Their superbly attuned voices weave vocal tapestries plush as velvet, mysterious as photosynthesis, nuanced as clouds, yet simple as greens... as uncategorizable as it is enchanting. - Fred Bouchard, DownBeat
(MOSS)...soul stirring , majestic, comforting, inquisitive, hypnotic and wise.... their beauty is ultimately intangible.
- Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
Creative Music and other forms of Avant Garde
REVIEWS Peter Eldridge & Kenny Werner: Somewhere by George W. Harris • July 8, 2019
Pianist Kenny Werner has been plunging into deep waters on his latest few albums. This time around, he teams up with gentle toned vocalist Peter Eldridge in a mixture of originals and standards, teamed with luscious and dreamy atmospheres.
Along with Werner, Eldridge is framed by a jazz team of Yoron Israel/ Matt Aronoff/ and The Fantastical String Orchestra conducted by cellist Eugene Friesen. The result is soft pastels of piano segueing to voice and strings on material such as the deep “That Which Can’t Be Explained” the elliptical “Minds OF Their Own” softly brushed “Untitled Lament” and long shadowed “Difficult.” George Garzone brings in his tenor for a hip and thoughtful “Ballad For Trane” while Eddie Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me” sounds gloriously sorrowful. Their version of the famed Bernstein title track is part of a dream-like medley that ties together with “A Time For Love,” but starts off with a heart on sleeve duet between the two gents. Eldridge and Werner went for deep purple hues on this one, and it works wondrously.
( Peter Eldridge – vocals; Kenny Werner – piano & electric piano; Eugene Friesen – conductor/cellist; Matt Aronoff – bass; Yoron Israel – drums; The Fantastical String Orchestra; Special Guest – George Garzone – tenor saxophone #8 )
Somewhere, a new album on Rosebud Music, brings together vocalist Peter Eldridge and pianist Kenny Werner for an intimate and sophisticated session of ballads that capitalizes on Eldridge’s warm baritone and Werner’s piano virtuosity. All of this is encased by orchestral strings utilizing the arrangements of Kenny Werner.
With the exception of three numbers, most the music presented was written by either Werner or Eldridge with the lyrics provided by a variety of lyricists. In any event the compositions are replete with modish points of view and musical worldliness.
The set opens with “You Don’t Know Me” which was written by Cindy Walker from story line provided by country singer Eddie Arnold. The artists who covered the tune are too numerous to mention. Be that as it may, Eldridge delivers a languid heart wrenching version of the tune, while Werner’s piano fills in beautifully around the edges.
“I’m So Glad You’re Mine” is the first of the several Kenny Werner compositions that dot the album. The piece opens with a delicious piano solo from Werner, and then Eldridge picks up the theme with an evocative run through of the lyrics.
The only Aldridge/Werner composition included in this release is “Autumn In Three” which speaks to the promise that fall brings with leaves falling and a bite in the air. Werner offers some evocative single note lines along with a big tone bass solo from Matt Aronoff.
Another Werner composition with lyrics by Douglas Worth is ”Ballad For Trane”. After Aldridge takes an amiable turn though the lyrics which are somewhat obtuse, tenor saxophonist George Garzone delivers a warm harmonic solo in a straight ahead fashion.
“Somewhere/A Time For Love” are compositions from an unmatched pair of musical icons. Firstly Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim wrote “Somewhere” for the 1957 Broadway production West Side Story, and the latter was written by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webber for the 1966 film An American Dream.
These two numbers are an interesting musical juxtaposition as Eldridge and Werner are the only players on the first piece delivering an interpretation full of self assurance and grace. On the second offering, Werner drops out and Eldridge is supported only by the string section that provides a variegated harmonic feel to the singer’s approach to the number.
This album is a reflective and expressive excursion to a place of stylish inspiration.
PETER ELDRIDGE/KENNY WERNER – “SOMEWHERE”
Peter Eldridge has that special voice, that unique quality in his tone, one that a real jazz singer exhibits. Some folks have labeled that quality as the “It” factor. This album of plush arrangements, strings and the mastery of Kenny Werner on piano amply exposes the rich, Eldridge, baritone voice. Acclaimed as a founding member of the fabulous New York Voices, Peter Eldridge is also celebrated at the Manhattan School of Music’s jazz voice department. He headed that department for eighteen years. Currently he is part of the voice faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
When Peter Eldridge is not inspiring and educating other singers, he finds time to compose and arrange music. He offers us four songs on this artistic album that he has either composed or co-composed.
Kenny Werner,like Eldridge,is a talented and competent composer, arranger and exceptional pianist. For the last four decades,his recordings,performances and composing skills have impacted audiences internationally. His educational books encourage and support mastery of music, accompanied by his videos, his world-wide lectures and numerous articles he has written. What a thrilling experience to enjoy these two master musicians working in concert with one another. They provide a stellar recording experience; sensuous, heartfelt, lyrically emotional and musically rich.
Opening with the lovely pop ballad, “You Don’t Know Me” I am captured by Eldridge’s purity of tone and Werner’s sensitive accompaniment and string arrangements. The second tune is written by Kenny Werner with lyrics by Donnie Demers titled, “I’m So Glad You’re Mine.” It’s a beautiful ballad that pays tribute to a loving partner who supports all you do and never waivers. The melody is lovely.
Eldrige has written the words and music to “That Which Can’t Be Explained.” It’s the third song on their romantic album. The strings take an opportunity to soar and dance about in all the open spaces. “Autumn in Three” was a writing collaboration of Werner and Eldridge. It’s a waltz,celebrating leaves with an interesting lyric.
Werner recalled in the liner notes: “Peter reminded me of Johnny Hartman, which brought to mind the beautiful treatments that Johnny Hartman could do. But I knew Peter was capable of a lot of different things, so I thought it would be incredible to do a whole album with that kind of musical and emotional relationship; no-nonsense, beautiful, lush, romantic songs with strings.”
Although I find myself falling in love with each song and every single breathtaking arrangement, I found the Ivan Lins composition,
“Minds of Their Own” intriguing and compelling, with lyrics by Peter Eldridge.
Peter shared his thoughts about this project and Kenny Werner’s brilliance. “Kenny’s string writing is so strong and nuanced. We were going for an old school approach, but slightly to the left. Instead of just doing a bunch of standards and having it sound like 1964, we wanted to mix it up with different feelings to the music. But under the umbrella of this big, rich, symphonic, warm collection of tunes.”
On the Eldridge composition, “Ballad for Trane,” George Garzone plays a striking tenor saxophone solo. The medley of the title tune, “Somewhere” is successfully combined with “A Time for Love.” The lyrics, like the musical arrangement, fit sweetly and Eldridge proffers a delightful delivery. Cellist, Eugene Friesen, conducts the 20-piece string orchestra, organizing a gifted group of Berklee musicians who enhance this project with their heavenly strings.
Here is an album of music stuffed with romance, raw emotion and generous talent. Perhaps Eldridge summed it up best when he said:
“Somewhere looks not to be a place but to a state of mind. One that allows listeners to abandon themselves to an imaginary world of luxurious romanticism. It’s a bit of a prayer that there will be peace one day soon, that things won’t remain as desperate as they are now. We’re living in an incredibly strange time, so this music is trying to offset that and help people feel a few moments of hope. We hope it offers a balm for the spirit.”
Matt Micucci, July 2019
10 Albums You Need to Know
a sound that pairs timeless romanticism with sophisticated modern harmony in a program of classic standards and clever originals….
...a ballad-centric project that brims with exceptional originals...striking...
"an intimate and sophisticated session of ballads that capitalizes on Eldridge’s warm baritone and Werner’s piano virtuosity.” —Pierre Giroux
STEP TEMPEST review by Richard B. Kamins
CREATIVE MUSIC SHOULD CHALLENGE US, MAKE US THINK AND MOVE US FORWARD. MUSIC CAN MAKE ONE'S LIFE BETTER AND FULLER, ONE OF LIFE'S GREATEST PLEASURES.
SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019
Music From the Heart & The Soul
Historians believes that before early man created instruments, the first "music" was created by the voice. Perhaps these sentient beings heard the songs of the birds, the cooing of mothers with their babies by their side, or other forms of communications that had melodic and/or rhythmic qualities.
On a personal level, I was first attracted by the voices coming from the radio. Later I heard marching bands in parades and on local football fields: then and there, I realized the importance of the drums. Nowadays, I listen to the rhythm section first and, with music that features a vocalist, I listen to the melody first and then pay close attention to how the singer responds to his accompaniment (and vice versa).
Here are two new albums which are quite different yet both speak to the heart of the creators and listeners as well as to the soul of the listener.
Peter Eldridge (pictured left) is a vocalist, composer, arranger, pianist, and educator whose voice I find to be quite compelling and handsome. He was one of the founding members of New York Voices in 1988, has released seven solo albums as a leader since 2001, works on-and-off with the vocal quartet known as Moss, and is now on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music. He also travels to conduct workshops throughout the United States and internationally. Eldridge is currently in the midst of creating his first full-fledged musical that will tell the story of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).
Pianist, composer, arranger, author, and educator Kenny Werner has been involved with the creative music for four decades. He has worked with so many musicians ranging from Toots Thielemans to Stan Getz to Dave Douglas to Pat Metheny to Mel Lewis and many others. As a leader, he has released over three dozen albums and has worked as a co-leader and sideman on so many others. He is also the author of "Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within" (Alfred Music), in which he offers struggling musicians (as well as other creative artists) who feel "stuck" and can't move forward. He, too, plays in venues and with groups throughout the United States and Europe.
Now Mr. Eldridge and Mr. Werner have collaborated on "Somewhere" (Rosebud Music) – the program posits the vocalist (he plays piano on one track) in front of a quartet led by Werner (piano, electric piano, arrangements), Eugene Friesen (conductor, cello), Matt Aronoff (string bass), and Yoron Israel(drums) alongside the "Fantastical String Orchestra", a 19-member ensemble composed of violins, violas, cellos, string basses, and a harpist. If you are familiar with Eldridge's music, you know he's worked with strings before but has rarely recorded a collection of such lush orchestrations. Eldridge composed four of the tracks, adding lyrics to two others: Werner also composed four with one he also wrote the words for.
The album opens with the Eddy Arnold classic "You Don't Know Me." With the strings leading the voice in, this version hearkens back to the Ray Charles 1962 version but Eldridge does not channel the original but gives it his own spin. The title track is part of a medley in which the Bernstein classic (from "West Side Story") comes first and is a lovely, powerful, reading with just Werner's piano like a harp behind the voice: it's paired with "A Time For Love", composed by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster for the 1966 movie of the same name. Here, the voice is supported by the strings who sometimes serve as counterpoint but mostly create a lush backdrop for the lyrics. Eldridge created the lyrics for "Minds of Their Own", an Ivan Lins melody first recorded in 2004 by Nancy Wilson. There is not an overt Brazilian influence – instead, the piece sounds like a classic ballad of the 1940s and 50s.
The originals range from the sweet, introspective, "That Which Can't Be Explained" to the bluesy "Ballad For Trane." The latter track features a handsome tenor saxophone solo from George Garzone yet neither the song nor the tenor saxophone sound connected to John Coltrane (or, in the case of the vocalist, to Johnny Hartman. Nevertheless, the piece stands out for its melody line and the fine vocal. Eldridge's "Less Than Lovers" (with lyrics by Douglas Worth) is a ballad on the fence between love and hate with sweeping strings and splendid accompaniment from Werner on both acoustic and electric piano. The influence of Randy Newman can be heard on "Distinct", especially in Eldridge's parlor-room piano and the dancing strings.
The album closes with two fascinating pieces. Werner's "Untitled Lament" opens with the vocalist over the basic quartet then stops to allow a fantasia of strings to lead back into the pianist's reimagining of the melody. Then, it's solo piano that tells the story before the vocalist returns with the quartet now augmented by the string orchestra. It's a fascinating arrangement that leads into the final track, "Day Is Done (Prayer for Diego)". Eldridge sings his song at the top of his range with the band locked in with him plus the deep, sonorous, strings. Friesen's cello steps out for a solo – he sings along for a stretch, wordless lines that have a joyous quality. Werner follows with his own romp before the vocalist returns to finish his prayer.
"Somewhere" is lovely music, filled with passionate melodies, strong arrangements, and sympathetic musicianship. This is music that speaks to the heart, sings of love that goes beyond a person to a world of daily discovery, of hope, and understanding in times of despair. Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner have made a recording which soothes the soul and stirs the imagination.