I have all the time in the world for Peter Leitch. Not only because he is a phenomenal guitarist/musician and an equally phenomenal photographer but because he kind of helped me out when I made my first trip to New York City in 2004. I had never met him previous to 2004 but he was the subject of one of my radio shows in 1998. I did a one hour feature on him. I did a live interview with him and I remember him distinctly giving me shit for programming two tunes in a row that were in same key. That’s Peter, honest as can be. More on that later.
I cant’ remember the reasons for us connecting before coming to NYC. Perhaps we were talking about an appearance at the club but we had arranged to meet at his apartment on Morton Street in the Village. I remember meeting his lovely wife Sylvia, they made hamburgers and we just talked about jazz, photography, the club, New York etc. Other than having a good time there was nothing overly spectacular about the hang, just two really nice people showing a young kid the ropes of NYC and I have never ever forgotten that. One thing that did occur is that Peter gave me a copy of On A Misty Night on vinyl and he signed and gave me a copy of Red Zone. They remain in my collection as treasures and I listen to On A Misty Night as I type. Peter would make an appearance at the club a few years later and as good as it was, Peter was flustered and pre-occupied and with good reason. The amp I had provided him was acting up and was a real nuisance throughout the night. He still sounded fantastic but if the elements were right it would’ve been a really special night of music.
I saw Peter back in 2010 when I did my first New York With Weeds tour. I hired him to put together a trio to play a private event for us at SWIZZ Restaurant. It featured Jed Levy on tenor saxophone and John Webber on bass AND I got to sit in which was fantastic!
Where is all this going? Well, two weeks ago I was walking though Chapters with my kids and as I always do, I looked through the Performing Arts section expecting to see nothing which was usually what happened and I happened upon OFF THE BOOKS. I couldn’t believe it. Basically a book of Peter telling his story. Knowing Peter enough to know that he is extremely honest, straight shooting and not afraid to say what is on his mind I knew it was going to be a worthy read. Worthy is an understatement! It was fantastic!
It’s a ‘no holds barred,’ straight from the hip’ account of Peter and his life in music and photography including all of the pitfalls, frustrations and bitterness that can come by being in this business. Peter talks candidly about everything from addiction, infidelity and general bitterness to toward the music and more specifically the jazz industry to the many exciting recording sessions and gigs that he was on. He talks about the creative process in-depth and how it is similar yet different in music vs. photography.
It’s well worth the money and even more worth the money is visiting his website and purchasing some of his latest recordings that he’s released on his own imprint label.