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Dazzling Jazz
3/14/2012 01:56 PM

A Living Legend of The Jazz World at the NYC TRIAD

Leonid Ptashka is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of our time: in 2000 he was included into the prestigious list of “100 outstanding musicians of the 20th. Century” compiled by the American Biographical Institute.

A powerful performer, a talented composer, a tireless promoter of jazz, passionately committed to his art, Ptashka is an Israeli musical treasure who is both an expert on jazz tradition and a jazz trendsetter, pushing compositional and improvisational limits every time he touches the keys.

A founder and artistic director of several successful bands, the host of a popular international television Music Show “The Night Bird”, Ptashka has long established his reputation as a multi-talented musician and conductor whose achievements include the First prize in the Pianist Competition in Los Angeles (1988), the Special prize at the Jazz Pianist Competition in France (1989), the First prize in Eilat Jazz Festival in Israel (1991), as well as solo recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York (1988), Boston University Concert Hall (1988), Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (1989), concert tours in France, Yugoslavia, West Germany, Italy.

His career includes work with legendary musicians such as Larry Porter, Benny Carter, Joan Brekin, Tom Lee, James Newton, Edd Tickepen, Al Foster, Dusco Goikovich, Freddie Hubbard, Herb Alpert.

He has recorded and produced 7 critically-acclaimed, award-winning albums, revealing Ptashka’s musical genius at its best.

His unique open-minded approach to compositions is the hallmark of Ptashka’s artistry and style. His concert is always an astounding musical show, where the pianist’s casual manner and appearance, a mane of dark hair and the last name that means “A Little Night Bird” attract almost as much attention as his incredible artistic quality and technical skill.

Ptashka’s performance is a blend of drama and power, always full of surprises, from wailing intensity to joyful simplicity. This pianist not only plays jazz, but also reveals the magic and the psychological and emotional process behind it. He approaches music in different ways: sometimes briskly, in a vigorous manner, or with a lot of fluidity and smoothness; sometimes very strongly, almost wrathfully, and sometimes in a more humorous vein.

Like his many legendary predecessors who revolutionized the jazz world, he is known for exploring elements not typically associated with jazz, such as combining piano scores with Cantor Choir singing.

The energy produced by his super-expressive music is always uplifting. He has a rare capacity to experience the entire breadth of life through music, to share it with the audience and to draw very different people closer together by doing so. He is constantly continuing to innovate and to renew his repertoire and styles.

Next month the New Yorkers will be treated to his new program that includes classical jazz, improvisation and raw jazz variations. On April 4th, for the first time ever, Ptashka will perform at Manhattan’s TRIAD Theater in the Upper West Side.

Wednesday night will open with the solo performance by Leonid Ptashka; later this not-to-be-missed recital by the celebrity pianist will feature a special appearance by New York’s renowned saxophonist-jazzman Yaacov Mayman, closing out the evening with a unique duo of two great musicians.

Elena Kogan for “The Jewish World”, 2/27/2012

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