New Trio Studio Recording from
Peter Leitch on His Jazz House Label
Landscape, the fifth release on the artist-owned Jazz House label, comes hot on the heels of Leitch’s best-selling memoir Off the Books: A Jazz Life and his well-received live recording from last year, California Concert. This is mature music that goes beyond common virtuosity or sound bites, paying tribute to the cultures that spawned the artistic landscape of the American century. Listeners will hear his nods to vaudeville (Louise), the Irish American experience (Danny Boy), and the southern roots of the Black American experience (Tutwiler—named for the place where legend has it John Hammond first heard the blues and where civil rights martyr Emmet Till’s body was prepared for burial), as well as music from within the jazz tradition, Leitch originals and compositions by contemporaries.
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California Concert Released
on Guitarist Peter Leitch’s Jazz House Label
California Concert, the fourth release on the artist-owned Jazz House label, captures the Peter Leitch Quartet in an incredibly strong live performance at California State University, Fresno.
Peter’s bandmates for this concert include his friend and long-time musical associate pianist John Hicks, New York bassist David Williams, and jazz legend Billy Higgins on drums. This very fortuitous coming together of musical minds is made more ephemeral through the knowledge that with the passing of Hicks and Higgins, it was an occasion that will never be repeated. "I remember this concert as being was one of the great musical experiences of my life," Peter said of the concert. "Fortunately, someone had the foresight to record it."
The potent chemistry among these four veterans is palpable from the opening bars of Bird’s “Relaxin’ at Camarillo” to Peter’s own tribute to a mentor, “A Blues for Ivan Symonds. The full-set recording also features Hicks’s classic “After the Morning,” their friend Walter Booker’s “Book’s Bossa,” the Strayhorn-Ellington favorite “Isfahan,” and a piano-guitar medley of Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Warm Valley.”
The recording was made by an avid fan and Peter took it to master engineer Allan Tucker in New York to try to clean up the audio to make the concert set releasable. The result is a labor of love—great music played full out (no tune is under nine minutes)—well worth the listener’s time. Liner notes by the late bassist Dwayne Burno, who worked and recorded with the guitarist.
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Off the Books:
A Jazz Life
Peter Leitch’s memoir Off the Books: A Jazz Life by Vehicule Press in Montreal recounts the in vivid detail a life lived in search of excellence in music and art, learning his craft on the bandstand in the days before jazz education, while battling depression and drug addiction. His depiction of the Montreal of his youth reveals a long-gone vibrant club scene in that city. Peter’s moves, first to Toronto in 1977 and then to his present home , New York City, in 1982 are also recounted in detail. There is a great deal of humor in some of his recollections and observations, and more than a few hard truths leavened with bits of absurdist fantasy.
A launch party was held in September for the CD and book at Walker’s in TriBeCa, home of Peter Leitch’s long-running Sunday night duo gig.
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Nocturne: The City at Night
Peter's Nocturne: The City at Night runs August 26–October 17, at the Living Room Gallery at Saint Peter's Church, Lexington and 54th Street, in Manhattan. Opening reception: September 12, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Influenced and inspired by Film Noir, Edward Hopper's nighttime tableaux, and the strong rich blacks used by cartoonist Chester Gould to portray the urban landscape in "Dick Tracy," these photographs celebrate different facets of New York at night. Here are the busy streets and garish bright lights of midtown; the vestiges of Walter Winchell's Broadway; its mythic skyscrapers and iconic bridges, symbolizing the triumph of the human spirit over the forces of darkness; and the lonely city with its quiet empty spaces.
The working milieu of the jazz musician is the night, and during a long career as a professional musician Peter Leitch has lived a large part of his working and waking hours at night, and has seen the city and its people in its many nocturnal guises and disguises. Hopefully these photographs will suggest to the viewer their own imagined narratives and non-verbal sensations, moods and atmospheres.
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The Great Jazz Guitarists:
The Ultimate Guide
See the full entry for Peter in the new book The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide by Scott Yanow, published by Backbeat Books. The author says of Leitch's recorded work:"All of Peter Leitch's recordings are excellent, for he always stays true to himself."
Watch this space for news of Peter's forthcoming memoir Off the Books: A Jazz Life, Vehicule Press, and the release of his CD California Concert, the live recording of a full set of great music from 1999 with Peter on guitar, John Hicks, piano, David Williams, bass, and Billy HIggins, drums.
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Photo Exhibition: "A View from the Bandstand,"
April 2-June 1, 2012. WGBO Gallery, 54 Park Place, Newark, NJ.
Peter has photographed his musical friends, colleagues and heroes at work on the bandstand and in the studio. His photographs capture not only the musicians, in tones of rich, deep black and brilliant white, but also suggest the sound of the music. He says: "Jazz and photography are both arts of the moment. With these photographs I'm trying to show musicians deeply involved with music." The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of those artists who are no longer with us, but whose music lives on and continues to inspire.
Reception: April 12, 6-8pm. Peter Leitch/Ray Drummond Duo performs.
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The short film "Tango Noir"
Directed by Peter Leitch and Pamela Timmins, with original music by Peter will be screened at the Big Apple Film Festival (Tribeca Cinemas, corner Canal & Varick) on Friday, Nov. 6, at 6:00 pm.
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Photo Exhibition: "A Landscape for the Blues," January 4 - March 26, Colvard Student Union Art Gallery, Mississippi State University. Starkville, MS.
A visual investigation of the topographical and social landscape of the regions that produced the blues and jazz, America's indigenous musical art forms. An original soundtrack plays continuously during the exhibit.
Opening Reception: January 19, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
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SoHo Photo Gallery Presents
Peter Leitch - New York to New Orleans
July 7 - August 8, 2009
Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 7, 6 - 8 pm
15 White Street
New York, NY 10013
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Peter is pleased to be Musical Director for the May 29th program of The Art of the Duo part II, the last in the three-part Lost Jazz Shrine Series Celebrating Bradley's. Peter will perform with fellow Bradley's veterans Bobby Watson, George Cables, Dwayne Burno and Peter Bernstein and will participate in the panel pefore the concert: panel moderated by Willard Jenkins is at 7 (including some video footage of music at Bradley's), concert at 8:30. Events are at BMCC's Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York: tribecapac.org for mor info.
Peter Leitch Is Now Accepting Students in Jazz Guitar/Improvisation.
Click here for more information (pdf).
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Check out Peter's new videos on YouTube and Jazzcorner's JazzVision channel!
Peter's collaboration with video artist Pamela Timmins "Urban Fantasy" was screened at two New York film festivals and their collaboration has produced several new videos. Check them out on YouTube and JazzVision.
Peter's Sunday night duo gig at Walker's in New York City's TriBeCa region has been documented on DVD. A selection from footage of several years' performances was compiled by Ms. Timmins and is now available from the artists. "The Walker’s Duets" received a great review in a recent issue of Jazz Times.
Peter has released his first solo CD, Self Portrait
(Jazz House 7003). You can to purchase it from him through this site.
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Peter's tune "JLM" (written for Wes Montgomery) was on Showtime's "The Hoop Life."
Peter now endorses Hofner
guitars as well as Polytone amplifiers.
Peter has taped an interview for the Canadian Museum of Civilization.The video interview is part of the museum's permanent display. It is presently on loan to the Centre d'histoire de Montreal for its "Jazz--Swinging Nights in Montreal" exhibit on the history of Jazz in Montreal. The exhibit will leave Montreal at the end of November and be displayed in various museums across Canada.
- Member of the jazz faculty at Domaine Forget, the prestigious, international music and dance camp in Quebec since 1989.
- IAJE member - IAJE Convention Clinician
- Peter Leitch has been a member of the New York Jazz Guitar Ensemble and was the Music Director of "Guitars Play Mingus" - a five guitar and rhythm section ensemble. That played the music of Charles Mingus.
- Peter has conducted clinics, workshops and Master Classes in jazz guitar and improvisation in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia.
- He has been an artist-in-residence at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts in Perth and Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, Australia, as well as at City Stages Jazz Camp in Birmingham, Alabama, the Vermont Jazz Center and many others.
Peter Leitch's Guitar Ensemble Arrangements are created on Finale and are laser printed for optimum readability. Charts are $30 each or $25 each for 4 or more plus $1 postage per arrangement. They include score and parts. Payment: Check drawn on U.S. bank or I.M.O. in U.S. funds.
The following are just some of the arrangements available from Peter. They are playable with five guitars and rhythm section (piano optional). They also include an optional flute part (doubling guitar 1). If you want more information please e-mail Peter Leitch. These pieces are written for different levels of proficiency. They are, in order of easy to difficult:
- WHERE'S THE TIME by Peter Leitch - This is a simple blues in F at a medium tempo with a Basie-style shout chorus. A good warm-up chart.
- A BLUES FOR IVAN SYMONDS by Peter Leitch - A blues in C minor with a simple harmonic twist and written backgrounds for solos. Can be played at a medium or up tempo.
- DUKE ELLINGTON'S SOUND OF LOVE by Charles Mingus - A ballad tribute to the Duke, this arrangement has solo rubato chord melody, and a richly voiced ensemble. A good change of pace for your guitar ensemble program. As performed by Guitars Play Mingus.
- NEW RHUMBA by Ahmad Jamal - This composition was made famous by Miles Davis and Gil Evans. There is nothing like this in guitar ensemble literature. Dynamics and blending.
107 Morton Street #3A
New York, NY 10014-3347
- Polytone amplifiers and uses the Mini Brute II Model
- Atilla Zoller guitar built by Hofner with a Zoller pickup by Shadow Electronics - One of only two such models in existence
- Ramirez nylon string guitar