The Heads and Tails Quartet: Both Ends Now (2007)
And blow he does! Leahy's flugelhorn gives off even more heat than his alto, as he burns off a fluttering Dizzy Gillespie riff before rejoining himself on alto for some red-hot harmony. That's right, harmony. The inimitable Ellis Leahy is the only jazz man, past or present, who plays his brass and reed axes simultaneously, the saxophone with his mouth, the flugelhorn with his...let us call it his southern oriface.
The eloquent liner notespenned by the two-ended musician's manager/wife, Ruthexplain in loving detail the evolution of Leahy's artistry. A deep abiding love of bean dip led to his bottom end beginnings with the trumpet, followed by a switch to flugelhorn with it's smaller mouthpiece proving more suitable to the gluteus maximus/anal embouchure. He initially wore his pants backwards to afford an easy access for his instrument via his repositioned fly, with an eventual special tailoring providing barn doors front and back.
Technical details aside, Both Ends Now captures the quartet in a cooking live performance at the South Bar Stage in the Paloma Resort and Casino in northeast San Diego County, sizzling through versions of Big Joe DeNio's bawdy "Big Bottom Blues," followed by a Leahy original, "Don't Drain That Spit Valve," a surprisingly bop-ish take on Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind," along with American Songbook classics "Too Close for Comfort" and "One For My Baby."
Both Ends Now has a feeling of spontaneous good times, with bassist Clete Johnson crying out, "Oh God, point that horn away from me, brother!" in the middle of one of Leahy's more spirited solos on "Rearin' Back," followed by pianist Bob Urp's response: "But for cryin' out loud don't aim it this way, man!"
The Leahy-led quartet is on the verge of taking a step up in terms of profile, with planned twelve city west coast tour this summer, co-sponsored by Preparation H and Carmelita's Refried Beans.
And what can you say, but "Blow, man, blow!"
Track Listing: Idiot Wind; Too Darned Hot; Rearin' Back; I'm Walking Behind You; Too Close For Comfort; One For My Baby; A Foggy Night; Big Bottom Blues; Don't Drain That Spit Valve.
Personnel: Ellis Leahy: alto saxophone, flugelhorn; Clete Johnson: bass; Chuck Malone: drums; Bob Urp: piano
Record Label: Loma Alta Records