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January 2012 Articles
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Issue: January 2012
The David Leonhardt Jazz Group
Plays Cole Porter (Big Bang Records BBR9584, www.davidjazz.com)

David Leonhardt is a Louisville native who has made his mark accompanying jazz greats such as Jon Hendricks and David "Fathead" Newman. In the September 2010 Louisville Jazz Society Newsletter , I reviewed his Bach to the Blues. The new CD's title clearly states its raison d'etre. The music of Cole Porter has, of course, provided grist for the mill of jazz artists for some eight decades now. By choosing to credit "The David Leonhardt Jazz Group," Leonhardt shares credit with his accompanists, as well as varying the sound by sometimes performing in a trio context, while at other times spotlighting the saxophone of Larry McKenna, and at other times adding vocals by Nancy Reed. Matthew Parrish on bass and Paul Wells on drums round out the group.

The disc opens with a "power trio" version of "Love for Sale." They slow the pace with "Every Time We Say Goodbye," with vocal and a warm tenor solo. Among the other selections, Leonhardt's arranging skills are evident, as he gives a bossa nova feel to "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," and imbues the ballad treatment of "I Concentrate on You" with a Latin feel. Conversely, the normally gentle "In the Still of the Night" is taken for a fast ride. In short, as many times as so many of these tunes have been interpreted over the decades, Leonhardt and company still find a way to keep Porter's music fresh. One hopes Leonhardt can find a way to return to his home town to perform again for us. He is always a delight.

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