Archive for December 23rd, 2019

Pete Belasco – Strong and Able

Jazz/Pop artist Pete Belasco began playing piano at a young age, later turning his concentration to saxophone. Both of his parents played piano as well. In high school, Belasco played in rock bands, but he soon became primarily interested in jazz and studied sax at Rutgers University and the Hartt Conservatory. He was also preparing a demo at the time, but was involved in a severe boating accident that broke both of his hands. For several months, he was unable to play, but in the interim he turned to composing and singing. In retrospect, Belasco has referred to the accident as a watershed experience because it forced him to develop his songwriting and singing skills.

Belasco’s demo made its way to Verve Records, and A&R Executive, Guy Eckstine, who signed him. Upon healing, Belasco moved to New York to record his debut, Get It Together, which was released on Verve Forecast in the fall of 1997. The album was a concoction of influences such as, Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, and Curtis Mayfield, along with jazzy pop and lounge music cool. As Pete Belasco created the songs that would become his second album, Deeper, he kept returning to a common theme-intimacy. The grooves were sensual, relaxed, erotic. The lyrics were passionate, tender, generous. In a time of confusion and strife, Belasco wanted to sing about love, about faith, and about supporting one another.

Elsewhere, Belasco plays fastidiously schooled sax instrumentals like a pop-soul fan imagining Sonny Rollins. In both cases, Belasco’s songwriting places a high premium on melody not applied to hit-mongering, diva-making, or campfire singing. Many enterprising neo-soul renovators push slick new collections for contemporary interiors. Only, Belasco steals in, fires the contractors, and whispers to the homeowners: “You need this.” His new album Strong and Able is more smoothness on your ears.

Get this album on Amazon.com.