3

Jennifer Leitham-Judy Roberts Duo: Phoenix, Arizona, January 21, 2013

Jennifer Leitham-Judy Roberts Duo: Phoenix, Arizona, January 21, 2013
Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
Jennifer Leitham and Judy Roberts
The Nash, Jazz in AZ Center
Phoenix, AZ
January 21, 2013

The first-ever duo concert of bassist Jennifer Leitham and pianist Judy Roberts delivered dynamic musical invention that showcased their remarkable talent and synergism.

Leitham's quicksilver agility and forceful skill reached far beyond the identity of acoustic bass as a support rhythm instrument. She combined percussive strumming style with glistening bass slides and resonant bowed work, all of which meshed perfectly with Roberts' über-inventive chord changes and incredibly fleet runs.

The pair chose an eclectic repertoire, opening with the Woody Herman swing hit, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," followed by a series of evergreens and then an intriguing reinvention of the Vince Guaraldi chart, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind." Leitham's bowing expertise enriched "Two for the Road" as the strongly swinging duo expressed a more lyrical mode.

When they exchanged fours on "Gravy Waltz," Leitham delivered double-stop phrases and slithering slides for Roberts to counter with fistfuls of notes and scampering runs. Their rendition of "Tangerine" had Roberts focusing mostly on her right hand in the treble clef while Leitham explored the lower range.

At times, the performance felt like a high-level jam session via brief "arrangements-while-you-wait" conversations between songs. The result was an incredible expression of musical ESP and the joy of camaraderie. The audience reacted with low chuckles and whispered comments in The Nash's intimate 100-seat space.

Both also performed vocally, Leitham singing "Bésame Mucho" while infusing minor harmonies and flamenco licks, then delivering "Detour Ahead" and "Born to Be Blue," as well as her original "Stick It in Your Ear," a Dave Frishberg-esque satire. Roberts sparkled on her signature hit, "Senor Blues," before the pair harmonized a cappella segments in "Centerpiece." The final selection was a "knuckle-buster" (said Leitham) rendition of "Scrapple from the Apple" that turned scatting into an extreme sport as the intense and entertaining concert ended.

Photo Credit

Diane Banyai

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues Live Reviews Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 22, 2017
Read My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum Live Reviews My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Garana Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Garana Jazz Festival 2017
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit" Live Reviews 2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Steve Reich @ 80: Music for 18 Musicians" Live Reviews Steve Reich @ 80: Music for 18 Musicians
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016" Live Reviews Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017" Live Reviews Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Los Lobos at The Barre Opera House" Live Reviews Los Lobos at The Barre Opera House
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!