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Wycliffe Gordon and Jay Leonhart: Humor in Harmony

By Published: January 15, 2007
AAJ: And you do a lot of tongue-twisters, too.

JL: I really have to physically practice certain things, like, "How the pronunciation went from nuclear to nukular." Nuclear/nukular/nuclear/nukular—you got to work at that.

AAJ: Is the show political? Although Jimmy Carter also pronounced it as "nukular," despite being an engineer.

JL: No, I'm not going to talk about politics. It's too depressing. I'm very unhappy with the current political scene.

Wycliffe Gordon / Jay LeonhartWG: I was just thinking—Jay is a great influence on other players. He sings and plays like two instruments, harmonizing with himself.

AAJ: Yeah, you do those tenths that nobody else seems to be doing.

JL: I've been doing this for thirty years, I have ten records of it out, and it's getting a little bit of acceptance. That's nice.

AAJ: A little footprint in the sand?

JL: Exactly. The fact that Dave Brubeck knew who I was [they happened to meet in the airport on their mutual December 6 birthday], that I didn't have to introduce myself, that makes you feel great. Not to toil in anonymity forever.

AAJ: So: are you guys gonna tour to support this CD?

WG: [holds up CD to microphone one more time]

JL: We are gonna tour when the time is right. Probably starting in the middle of the year. Once the word gets out there.

WG: We have a media person who's going to get this out. I think it's an easy sell, even if we have to do a quartet—get a pianist and drummer. I think a lot of promoters are afraid to do this unless it's part of a larger venue—they're afraid of the Jay and Wycliffe variety show. January 28...

JL: Yes... January 28 at Symphony Space. We're going to do a bunch of songs from the record. Jazz Hits on the Broadway stage. Jay Leonhart and Wycliffe Gordon and friends.

AAJ: You have friends?

WG: I have two.

JL: I have one. That's three altogether.

AAJ: Well, I think we got it. Thanks, guys.

This Rhythm On My Mind is available at and Jay Leonhart's website. For more information on Wycliffe Gordon visit Gordon's website.

Selected Discography

Wycliffe Gordon/Jay Leonhart, This Rhythm On My Mind (Bluesback Records, 2006)
Wycliffe Gordon, Standards Only (Nagel-Heyer, 2006)
Wycliffe Gordon, Cone's Coup (Criss Cross, 2006)
Wycliffe Gordon, In the Cross (Criss Cross, 2004)
Jay Leonhart, Cool (Sons of Sound, 2004)
Wycliffe Gordon, Dig This!! (Criss Cross, 2003)
Wycliffe Gordon, The Joy Ride (Nagel-Heyer, 2003)
Wycliffe Gordon, United Soul Experience (Criss Cross, 2002)
Wycliffe Gordon, We (Nagel-Heyer, 2002)
Jay Leonhart, Rodgers and Leonhart (Sons of Sound, 2002)
Wycliffe Gordon, What You Dealin' With (Criss Cross, 2001)
Jay Leonhart, Galaxies and Planets (Sons of Sound, 2001)
Wycliffe Gordon, The Search (Nagel-Heyer, 2000)

Photo Credits
Top Two Photos: Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Bottom Two Photos: Courtesy of Jay Leonhart

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