Jay Leonhart

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Jay Leonhart drew inspiration early in his musical life from the Oscar Peterson Trio (with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis), which serves somewhat as a model for this trio date. With pianist Ted Rosenthal and guitarist Joe Cohn, they put together a delightful set, sharing the solo spotlight and playing superb backgrounds for one another. Each of the musicians wrote fresh charts for the session. The bassist added lyrics to Tommy Flanagan's "Beyond the Bluebird" (retitled "My Bluebird") with the composer's approval, though his bass solo steals the spotlight from his vocal. Leonhart's arrangement of "C Jam Blues" explores new ground by deftly re-harmonizing Duke Ellington's famous piece. "For Real" is the one original on the disc, a challenging vocal feature for the leader. Rosenthal's scores "If I Only Had a Brain" as a jaunty waltz with some occasionally ominous bass chords thrown in for fun, while "Nobody Else but Me" is a straight-ahead swinger. His playful look at "Jitterbug Waltz" will delight fans of Fats Waller. The guitarist chose to arrange three compositions by his late father, tenor saxophonist Al Cohn. "Take Four" serves as a snappy opener while featuring some of the best solos of the date in this neglected bop masterpiece. "You and Me" is another bop cooker, played over the chord changes to "Tea for Two." The sauntering "Two Funky People," featuring a humorous arco bass solo by the leader, wraps this thoroughly enjoyable CD.

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