When pianist Pete Malinverni takes to the keyboard, it’s a true spiritual experience for him. But don’t think for a minute the guy doesn’t swing. It’s just that Malinverni knows his music is a gift from the Creator and he has a responsibility to use that gift as best as he can.
“I really think music is the voice of God and deserving of my respect,” he says. “I try to practice and study conscientiously in order to prepare myself as a vessel for the music and remove any personal obstacles that stand in the way. “
His latest Reservoir release, A Very Good Year, is a trio date with Dennis Irwin on bass and Leroy Williams on drums. The progam’s title tune is a tribute to Sinatra that Malinverni arranged, with seven other selections, including Ellington’s “Angelica,” Bernstein’s “Lucky to Be Me,” a couple of originals, and a medley of spirituals.
“Spirituals are meditative and beautiful melodically,” he says. “If I’m playing a gig and something is breaking up between myself and the audience, it never fails that a spiritual will bring us all back together again. I don’t think that’s a coincidence at all.”
Malinverni, who serves as a church musician at the predominantly African-American DeVoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, says his future plans are grounded in a desire to remain a voice for the musical gifts he enjoys—but he’s not going to force anything to happen: “If I start forcing a direction with my band, I’ll find myself getting stiff and the band feeling second-guessed. If I do the same thing careerwise—forcing something—then it probably won’t work out, either. What I do is pursue all the things that I might be doing at any given time and work as hard as I can. Then I see what doors open and I jump on it. I don’t lay back passively. I wait for direction and then go for it with vigor.”