Peter Eldridge belongs in the celebrated tradition of melodic poets, most famously represented by such disparate voices as Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Steely Dan -- singer/songwriters who write catchy, beautiful tunes with insightful lyrics that are both personal and universal. These are some of Eldridge's major influences, but by adding his own brand of wry, gentle humor and a strong jazz sensibility, he creates music that's difficult to file under any one genre. Combining elements of jazz, pop, R&B, rock, soul, and Latin music, his style flows from the message and mood of any individual song, although his harmonic signatures remain unique and readily identifiable. An accomplished keyboardist, arranger, and producer, Eldridge has been on the jazz vocal faculty of the Manhattan School of Music since 1993, and also teaches privately (one of his students was Jane Monheit, whom he taught for four years before she became a finalist in the 1999 Thelonius Monk competition). He first came to international attention as a jazz/pop singer with a warm and supple voice and a relaxed, engaging stage presence; a founding member of the Grammy-winning New York Voices, Eldridge has been touring and recording with the group since 1987, performing in Europe and Japan as well as stateside venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. He has worked or recorded with Nancy Wilson, Joshua Redman, Bobby McFerrin, Patti Austin, Ray Brown, the Count Basie Band, Jim Hall, Astrud Gilberto, and George Benson, among others, and performs independently with percussionist/co-producer Ben Wittman to a fast-growing fan base in the New York area. Eldridge was incubated in a musical family -- his father played upright bass with Benny Goodman. He began piano studies early, and attended Ithaca College, first as a classical piano major and then changing to voice, meeting four of the original New York Voices in the process. His eclecticism was brewing even then as he performed in a wide variety of choirs, madrigal, and jazz vocal groups. After graduation he lived in Boston, where he was awarded a composing grant from the Massachusetts State Council on the Arts and also worked as instructor and accompanist for the National Dance Institute for inner-city children, founded by Jacques D'Ambroise. Once moving to New York City in the '90s, he started getting frequent calls for collaboration and session work as both vocalist and keyboard player, and served as musical director for a highly-regarded off-Broadway theater group. The range of Eldridge's talent is evident on his first two CDs as a leader, released simultaneously in 2000 on Rosebud Records. Stranger in Town is a moody, tender collection of late-night jazz ballads -- somewhere between Chet Baker and Johnny Hartmann -- featuring Michael Brecker, Claudio Roditi, Lewis Nash, Romero Lubambo, and the fine pianist Andy Ezrin, whose own debut trio CD was produced by Eldridge. Fool No More contains 12 originals that are characteristic of Eldridge's material: compelling, yet highly singable, contemplations of modern life (and love); even the darker pieces are never far from playfulness and hope. Still working with New York Voices, whose new big-band album Sing, Sing, Sing is due in 2001, Eldridge is carving out a memorable voice of his own. ~ Judith Schlesinger, Rovi