Michael Leonhart

Glub Glub, Vol. 11

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Michael Leonhart takes a hard left turn on his sophomore release. Breaking with all musical conventions, he attempts to create what he calls a "movie in headphones," a kind of sonic collage featuring countless musicians over the course of the album. The trumpet is but one tool among many; in fact, Leonhart also plays Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ, piano, guitar, bass, percussion, and more. But what Glub Glub, Vol. 11 illustrates more than any specific instrumental skill is Leonhart's ability as a producer and a sculptor of sound. That said, his horn looms large on such tracks as "Toni & Jose/The Woodpecker's Revenge" and "Let the Flower Grow," the latter a duet with his father, bassist Jay Leonhart, who wrote the lovely ballad. (His sister Carolyn and mother Donna also make cameos on the record.) The blues-based "Icodel" is the closest the album ever gets to jazz, per se. Amid the many oddities and inscrutable fragments, there are substantial pieces of music, such as "El Tapir," "Samsara," "Seashell on Fire," and "Terra Gekker." These tracks are often based on a single riff or sound, but they always contain a memorable hook or establish some inviting mood -- imagine if Josef Zawinul and Frank Zappa had gotten together to make a new kind of lounge music. The whole thing is weird, and deliberately so. But there's a clearheaded, knowledgeable spirit guiding it from start finish. Just let it wash over you. Get past the sheer unfamiliarity of the idea and you'll hear a work that's full of heart.

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