Live: Pete Malinverni Trio @ Beattie-Powers Place, 05/01/2022
House concerts are not unusual in the jazz and folk world. Thom Bellino has inaugurated a series of them at the historic Beattie-Powers Place in Catskill. A former private residence overlooking the Hudson, complete with antique furnishings, it’s a beautiful place to hold such a gathering.
This season’s premiere featured Pete Malinverni and his trio. The music of Leonard Bernstein was interpreted by the trio, featuring Malinverni on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, and Aaron Seeber on drums. This series of pieces was inspired by an evening that Malinverni spent with the late maestro. This, and other music of Bernstein, can be heard on his most recent CD On The Town (Planet Arts).
Malinverni is the head of jazz studies at SUNY Purchase. He displayed his passion and his ability to communicate the music both in his playing, and his introductions and explanations of the backgrounds of the songs. He is passionate in both ways of communication.
He opened with “New York, New York ( My Kind of Town)” from Bernstein’s On The Town, a Broadway musical from the 1940s. He continued with another tune, “Lucky to be Me”. “Some Other Time” from the same musical was included later in the performance.
The recently revived West Side Story was the focus of the remainder of the instrumental pieces. The haunting closer of the musical Somewhere featured the brushwork of Seeber. “I Feel Pretty” was presented with strong rhythmic content, but the melody was not forgotten. The preamble rhythmic piece “Cool” was started with a drum solo. It also featured a bass solo by the virtuosic Okegwo.
The only non-Bernstein piece was the classic Thelonius Monk ballad “Round Midnight”, beautifully interpreted by special guest, singer Anais Reno. She will be a name to watch for in the future.
Malinverni explained in his closing remarks that jazz is indeed rooted in Africa; in its respect for elders, the playing of old, time-honored compositions, and the mentoring of the young. It should be noted (in that spirit), that Seeber is a former student of Malinverni, and Reno is an up-and-coming singer.