Carolyn Leonhart: New 8th Day (2005)
In a world full of cookie-cutter jazz vocalists and instant vanity CDs (just add water), it's rare to hear a singer who has both chops and discernible style. Carolyn Leonhart is one of the few: it's a pleasure to hear the intelligence and nuance in her delivery, and she also swings her posterior off. Add to all this an unusually interesting set of tunes and a sterling quartet, and you have a release that's a cut above most of what's out there today.
Carolyn comes from a ridiculously musical family. Her mother, Donna, is a singer with her own CD; her father, Jay, is the bassist/singer/songwriter who wrote the witty "Sometimes I Think" (..."I got nothing in common with the rest of the human race/I'm completely out of place/Like a visitor from outer space..."). Then there's brother Michael, a fellow Steely Dan alum who's released several of his own records, including Slow; he collaborated on three of Carolyn's originals that appear here. The family expanded in 2004 when Carolyn married Wayne Escoffery, who contributes his muscular tenor sax and six creative arrangements to this session.
For example, Escoffery's arrangements blow the dust off "Whisper Not" and "I'm in the Mood for Love," while Leonhart's take on "Moon River" cuts through decades of stagnant water. Her title track is a catchy anthem for all those over-busy people who need a "new 8th day" or "Noneday" to relax in, and it's a pure delight to hear Leonhart wrap her sweet, supple voice around "Daydream" and a modernized version of Jobim's "Photograph." New 8th Day is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, a breath of fresh air in a cluttered field of sound-alikes.
Track Listing: Noneday, I'm In The Mood For Love, No Moonlight, Sometimes I Think, Whisper Not, Daydream, If I Should Lose You, Home, Photograph, Moonriver.
Personnel: Carolyn Leonhart,vocals; Wayne Escoffery, tenor sax; Rick Germanson, piano; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Donald Edwards or Jason Brown, drums.