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Album Review

Mike LeDonne has made a name for himself as a top-notch organist, though he has chops to burn on piano as well, the latter being his sole instrument on these performances recorded over two nights at Smoke in the fall of 2007. Joining him are some of his regular collaborators, including tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and drummer Joe Farnsworth, along with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and bassist Jon Webber to round out this excellent group. The pianist's fiery "Encounter" is built upon the chord changes to "Love for Sale," which even incorporates a bit of salsa in the midst of its uptempo post-bop structure, with plenty of potent solos all around. The soft, swinging groove of Pelt's "Good Times" is highlighted by his tasty muted horn and Webber's short, effective solo. LeDonne finds a fresh approach to Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" by altering the rhythm a bit in the introduction, playing call and response between the piano and horns, then setting the tempo afire as Alexander blazes a new trail. The pianist also disguises "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" with an impressionistic, crystalline solo introduction before adding the rhythm section in his masterful arrangement of this timeless, bittersweet ballad by Duke Ellington. The quintet signs off with a bluesy, strutting treatment of Cedar Walton's "Bleeker Street," no doubt leaving every patron satisfied with their evening's work.


Genre: Jazz

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

Pianist and composer Mike LeDonne was born in Bridgeport, CT, in 1956. LeDonne was practically raised at his parents' music store and by the age of ten, his father, a jazz guitarist, was hiring him out on gigs. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, LeDonne moved to New York, where he started working at Jimmy Ryan's (at the time, one of New York's oldest jazz clubs). Here LeDonne met and played with some of the great historical figures of jazz, including Roy Eldridge,...
Full bio
FiveLive, Mike LeDonne
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  • 72,00 kr
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 12 August 2008

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