Kenny & Leah: You and the Night and the Music (2009)
A perfect marriage of saxophone and voice, saxophonist Kenny Soderblom and his wife, vocalist Leah McCoy Soderblom, pay tribute to great American jazz standards in a intimate and sensuous performance with You and the Night and the Music. Leah lends her sultry vocals, delivering a host of love songs from the title track to "Dancing In the Dark," "The Look of Love," "Let's Fall in Love" and the finale medley of "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart/The Trolley Song." Essentially a blend of love songs and swing, the music here features Soderblom accompanying the singer with bluesy and rhythmically playful phrases on tenor, joined by drummer Harold James and keyboardist/bassist Richard Drexler.
There are twelve select pieces on the album, of which "The Second Time Around," and "Three Little Words" are instrumentals. On these two songs, the saxophonist convinces the singer to step asideif only for a momentallowing his own saxophone voice to shine through, delivering two of the many stellar solos found throughout the album. McCoy Soderblom has always longed to record a song associated with the great Billie Holiday, and she does so here with a fine rendition of "God Bless the Child." Employing a light bossa nova rhythm, the couple presents a lively read of Toots Thielemans' jazz waltz, "Bluesette." They continue the Brazilian flavor with "Twilight World," a Marian McPartland composition where Kenny is especially delightful on a warm tenor, as McCoy finishes the song off with lyrics in Portuguese. The duo turns soft and cushy on Thad Jones' lovely ballad, "A Child Is Born," then changes direction on the fun and bouncy "Popsicle Toes."
Displaying a range of styles, from pop and ballads to bossas, from swing to love songs, this album of light jazz has a bit of everything for those who can appreciate adult jazz vocals diced with excellent instrumentals. Kenny and Leah Soderblom seem to feed off each other's musical energy. Together, they do indeed define "a perfect marriage of souls and sounds."
Track Listing: You and the Night and the Music; Dancing In the Dark; The Second Time Around; The Look of Love; Let's Fall in Love; A Child Is Born; Popsicle Toes; Three Little Words; God Bless the Child; Bluesette; Twilight World; Zing Went the Spring of My Heart/The Trolley Song Medley.
Personnel: Kenny Soderblom: tenor saxophone; Leah McCoy Soderblom: vocals (1, 2, 4-7, 9-12); Harold Jones: drums; Richard Drexler: keyboards, bass.
Record Label: Self Produced