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Album Review

Patrick Leonard is best-known as a pop producer, collaborating with Madonna on her biggest hits and extending his wonderful sense of song to numerous other pop stars. In the liner notes (encased in elaborate, rustic packaging), he writes about the 1995 male bonding/fishing experience in Wyoming and Montana that inspired him to run to the piano and transform himself into a pleasant new age artist. He also includes excerpts from his journal of the trip, and each song is named after the river which inspired it. That's all well and good, and Leonard's strong sense of melody informs most of the pieces here. Working with John Patitucci (bass), Sachi Patitucci (cello), and Luis Conte (percussion), Leonard serves up a nice and impressionistic if only sporadically engaging musical memoir. The solo kickoff tune, "Lewis/Shoshone," has a nice folksy ballad quality, but it's a bit tame compared to the playful rhythmic energies of "The Slough," on which Leonard dances in circles around Patitucci's bass. "Boy Scouts & Cutthroats" sounds like a cool Vince Guaraldi Peanuts tune, even if it rambles on a bit too long. For every interesting piece like this, a quiet piece of musical wallpaper like the classically inspired "Livingston D.C." takes a little momentum away. Still, despite the unevenness, it's interesting to see this deeper side of Leonard's musical personality. He should study the melodic joys of nature-inspired artists like Michael Gettel and David Lanz for future inspiration.


Born: Crystal Falls, MI

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

Pianist/composer/producer Patrick Leonard has worked with superstars like Madonna, Roger Waters, Elton John, and Jeff Beck as a producer and keyboardist. He founded his own label, Unitone, to release his original, new age-inspired music; 1997's Rivers was his...
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Rivers, Patrick Leonard
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