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Kenny & Leah: April in Paris

C. Michael Bailey By

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Kenny & Leah: April in Paris Hear, hear for the center. Kenny and Leah Soderblom have been self-producing straight- down-the-middle mainstream jazz over three previous recordings from 2009: You and the Night and the Music, Hearts and I've Dreamed of You. The husband-and-wife team has been setting a standard for musical synergy, making high quality, romance-oriented jazz, musical love letters to one another.

Bassist Mark Neuenschwander's arrangements are both piquant and traditional and never boring. This is important as this duo's goal is not to pioneer new fields of jazz, but to present the present in a fresh manner. Leah Soderblom's voice is perfectly suited for the repertoire she and her husband choose. "April in Paris," "You Stepped Out of a Dream," and "That Old Black Magic" sway with a gentle swing that is sure and true. Pianist/musical director Richard Drexler comps and solos with an assured self-confidence that allows Kenny and Leah to perform unencumbered.

Kenny Soderblom plays an unpretentious Stan Getz-influenced tenor saxophone that is perfectly behaved and well balanced. He shares his wife's love of Latin-inspired jazz, soloing robustly on "Menina Flor" and softly on "Caminhos Cruzados." Leah's linguistic skills are without peer. The greatest fun of the recording is the concluding medley of "Lulu's Back in Town/Spinning Wheel." Leah Soderblom struts through the jaunty lyrics with authority, having fun all the while. Kenny Soderblom blows a simple engaging solo that foreshadows the transition to "Spinning Wheel." Great fun, this disc.

Track Listing: April in Paris; You Stepped Out of a Dream; How Do You Keep The Music Playing; Moon River; Never Never Land; That Old Black Magic; Menina Flor; Caminhos Cruzandos; On A Clear Day; Dream Dancing; The Island; Speak Low; Lulu's Back in Town/Spinning Wheel.

Personnel: Leah McCoy Soderblom: vocals; Kenny Soderblom: tenor saxophone; Richard Drexler: piano, music director; Mark Neuenschwander: bass, arrangements; Chuck Par: drums; LaRue Nickelson: guitar.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Vocal


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