Peter Eldridge is an exceptional singer/songwriter, a rare breed who makes honest-to-goodness adult music that’s not only hip, but also entertaining. His hummable melodies have a kinship with the pop/jazz of Steely Dan; indeed, his lyrics are just about as wry as Donald Fagen’s. Yet, Eldridge stands on his own terra firma on “Mad Heaven” (Palmetto Records) a sonic pick-me-up of jocular tunes and sunny Brazilian pop covers that are as juicy as a pomegranate martini. As an ace pianist and arranger - he's also a member of the groups, New York Voices and Moss - Eldridge calls upon guitarist Keith Ganz, bassist Tim Lefebrve, drummer Ben Whitman and percussionist James Shipp to inflate his jazzy tracks with fluid accompaniment and bubbly rhythm. His particularly clever “Charmer” spotlights the lush background harmonics of Lauren Kinham and Kate McGarry and his resplendent piano solo is too cool for school. In fact, a handful of Eldrige’s elegant constructions seem destined to become standards – but only if they’re played like “Buffet Philosophy,” a funny tune about consumerism (and nutrition) gone awry, where Eldridge laments what $6.95 buys, and sings
…oversize sweatshirts, mumus, Sansabelt slacks; it’s a who’s who of heart attacks…we’ve got three hours to sit back and relax.
Yes, “Mad” is a little retro but it’s one of a few contemporary CDs that you’ll love from beginning to end. (12 tracks; 60 minutes)
Labels: Ben Whitman, Donald Fagen, James Shipp, Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz, Lauren Kinham, Moss, New York Voices, Palmetto Records, Peter Eldridge, Steely Dan, Tom Lefebrve