David Leonhardt Jazz Group: Plays Gershwin
It is the lyrical pianism of David Leonhardt and the articulate vocalizing of long time collaborator Reed which lifts this album out of the drudgery of the ordinary. Leonhardt has been on the scene for more than 25 years, having played with many a stellar jazz performer. Reed excels here not only as a soloist, but as a background singer where she her voice assumes the role as an instrument. The Leonhardt/Reed offering of "Embraceable You" is as sincere a rendering as one will find of this Gershwin classic. The years these two have worked together is evident in the intimacy embedded in their approach to this song in particular and throughout the session generally. Lalama's sax comes in on the last chorus with his tenor noodling soulfully behind Reed accenting the mood created by Leonhardt's piano. A similar situation is found with "The Man I Love", this time with Lalama's sax being a bit more assertive without becoming overly demanding. This is outstanding work.
Plays Gershwin is Leonhardt's 5th album for his Big Bang label. Dilettantes and other assorted naysayers will moan that the last thing we need is another "plays Gershwin" album. But as this fine effort reveals, that position as always is shortsighted as Mr. Leonhardt's group gives refreshing insight to the music of George and Ira Gershwin. Happily recommended. Visit David Leonhardt at his web site at www.davidleonhardt.com/ music.htm.
Track Listing: David Leonhardt - Piano/Leader; Nancy Reed - Vocals; Ralph Lalama - Tenor Saxophone; Paul Rostock - Bass; Tom Melito - Drums
Personnel: Summertime; But not for Me; The Man I Love; How Long Has This Been Going on?; I've Got a Crush on You; They Can't Take That away from Me; A Foggy Day; I Got Rhythm; Lady Be Good; Embraceable You; S`Wonderful; Our Love Is Here to Stay
Record Label: Big Bang Records