Master bassist Jay Leonhart has chosen a program of his own songs to fill an album dedicated to the memory of Milt Hinton. The material is the type one associates with Murk Murphy, Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough, hip, often funny and kind of folksy. It's as if Leonhart was sitting across from you recounting some of his life events. Nothing very heavy, things like trying to get his bass on a plane "Bass Aboard a Plane" or being held up in Customs just because he is trying to bring in "...two alligators...six or seven ostrich eggs...and a little baby Llama from the mountains of Tibet" or the embarrassment of Dizzy Gillespie's failure to recognize Leonhart every time he sees him, even though they played together many times. Interesting and funny, but nothing you'd especially care to hear more than once. Leonhart hums and bows simultaneously a la Slam Stewart and Major Holley on "Endless Nights". His tribute to Milt Hinton, "The Judge", is neither maudlin nor mournful, but celebrating kindnesses Hinton and his wife showed to a young bassist named Jay Leonhart when he arrived lonely and apprehensive in the Big Apple. The music is more interesting when pianist Ted Rosenthal is present (7 tracks) and Michael Leonhart shows up with his trumpet (3 tracks). But even with them on board, you get the feeling that you've heard this song before, or something very like it. The tempo and phrasing rarely change and while the lyrics are clever, they aren't enough to sustain almost 55 minutes of music. The lyrics are in the liner notes.
Track Listing: Endless Nights; Galaxies and Planets; I Got the Blues; Joy; Farmers Farming; The Judge; Woe Is Me; Double Parking; Dizzy; Bass Aboard a Plane; You Say That You're Leavin'; Customs; Rash Cash Blues; She's Mean; German Shepherd.
Personnel: Jay Leonhart: bass, vocals; Ted Rosenthal: piano; Joe Beck: guitar; Mark Elf: guitar; Michael Leonhart: trumpet.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.