David Leonhardt Trio

(Big Bang Records)

Review by Jean Timmons

The trio consists of Leonhardt, a veteran pianist with over 35 years professional experience; Alvester Garnett, a rising star of jazz drums, who has appeared with some great ones - Betty Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Regina Carter, Roy Hargrove; and well-repected bassist Matthew Parrish whose vitae includes work with Stefon Harris, Wynton Marsalis, and Greg Osby. Leonhardt has a heavy background in jazzy arrangements for popular songs and this new CD may enhance not only his reputation but his trio as well.

Explorations is an apt title for this program. It includes George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," translated to jazz without losing sight of its pop appeal for Leonhardt practically enunciates the lyrics with his piano, the same for Elton John's "Your Song." Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" undergoes an improvisational makeover while James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Kern's "Yesterdays" are jazzed up, but left pretty much intact. In addition to a fine treatment of Horace Silver's "Peace," Leonhardt has included a number of original compositions. His own "Iberian Lament' is quite affecting, exhibiting his heartfelt playing. Overall, this is a CD for music lovers who think they can't relate to jazz music. For others, if you like Harrison et al, this recording is a pleasant walk down memory lane, by an accomplished jazz popularizer.

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