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Great Duets

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Album Review

In October and November 1996, Jay Leonhart spent two weeks aboard the SS Norway, where he sailed around different parts of the Caribbean and was a prominent performer for the ship's "jazz cruise." During those two weeks, the acoustic bassist kept busy playing duets with Dave Frishberg and being part of the group New York Swing. Great Duets, however, doesn't focus on either of those activities, but rather, documents a series of intimate duets Leonhart performed with various pianists and guitarists. Embracing mostly bop, Leonhart is in good form on duets with guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli and Gene Bertoncini as well as pianists ranging from Mike LeDonne and Bill Charlap to John Bunch, Norman Simmons and Richard Wyands. The only vocal comes when Leonhart teams up with Joe Williams on the blues "5 O'Clock in the Morning," which was recorded when the singer was 77. Sadly, Williams' voice had declined considerably, and it's painfully obvious that he was way past his prime. But apart from Williams' weak performance, this is an enjoyable CD that Leonhart can be proud of.


Born: 06 December 1940 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A superior bassist, Jay Leonhart has also had a parallel and sometimes overlapping career as a witty lyricist and occasional singer. As a child he attended the Peabody Conservatory (1946-1950), and by the time he went to the Berklee College of Music (1959-1961), he was a jazz musician. He played with Buddy Morrow (1961) and Mike Longo (1962-1963), and then became a busy freelance musician in New York. Among Leonhardt's many associations were Marian McPartland (with whom he recorded in 1971), Jim...
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Great Duets, Jay Leonhart
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