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by Edward Blanco
A towering figure in American musical history, Cole Porter's music has been performed by countless people and groups for decades, enduring to this day. Pianist/composer David Leonhardt is the latest artist to interpret the work of the legendary songwriter with a smart and snappy presentation on The David Leonhardt Jazz Group Plays Cole Porter. With plenty of music to choose from, Leonhardt selects six compositions from the 1940s and '50s, but was wise enough to fill the balance of the ...read more
by Ernest Barteldes
Veteran pianist David Leonhardt has often improvised around classical melodies in a live format, and now he finally commits an entire disc to tunes by Debussy, Bach, Beethoven and others. Backed by his working trio, the pianist gets things started with Bach's Prelude in C Major" alternating the tempo between andante and another more suitable tempo with a straight-ahead beat.
He also tackles Schubert's popular Ave Maria," playing it straight without adding much to it. Bassist Matthew Parrish ...read more
by Ian Patterson
Pianist David Leonhardt's sideman credentials are impeccable, with ten years supporting the great jazz singer Jon Hendricks and twenty with Ray Charles' longstanding saxophonist, David “Fathead" Newman. Bach to the Blues, his twentieth album as a leader, may not radically alter his status as a respected but lesser known veteran, but the subtle pleasures it provides and its obvious classical/jazz crossover appeal should expose him to a wider, appreciative audience. The title is something of a misnomer, as most tracks ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
Pianist David Leonhardt takes a right turn directly into Jacques Loussier territory with the release of Bach to the Blues. Loussier has made his career arranging jazz interpretations of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven. His arranging and playing are characterized by a crystalline precision while often sacrificing space for improvisation. Leonhardt loosens the laces a bit, allowing not only for more fertile solo ground, but also introduces whimsy into his arrangements.
Leonhardt also expands the classical-jazz repertoire with Aaron Copland's ...read more
by Edward Blanco
Pianist David Leonhardt presents a tasteful marriage of classical music and jazz, sprinkled with a touch of the blues on Bach to the Blues, an improvisational statement on classical themes that is surprisingly entertaining. Leonhardt reinterprets the music of Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, and others with a creative improvisational approach producing a texture of light classical jazz that is most enjoyable. With bassist Matthew Parrish and drummer Alvester Garnett, The David Leonhardt Trio offers eleven pieces from eight great composers ...read more
by Jim Santella
With a casual atmosphere that recalls long winter evenings at your favorite nightclub, David Leonhardt and his musical partners interpret this program of holiday favorites in the jazz tradition. The pianist brings a warm glow to each song. They're exciting, and yet Leonhardt manages to put more into each piece than is usually found this time of the year. He fashions each interpretation so that it stands out as an improvised work that the group can explore thoroughly. Together, they ...read more
by Dave Nathan
Easton, PA, which sits at the fork of the Leigh and Delaware Rivers is not only the home of Lafayette College and the Crayola crayon factory, but is the site for one of jazz music's most prolific and multi talented pianists of our time, David Leonhardt. in addition to "regular jazz albums, he has released CDs devoted solely to dancers...a kind of music minus one for tap dancing...original compositions and interpretations of some of the most compelling entries from the ...read more