A man for any and all seasons, David Leonhardt has demonstrated on many occasions his expertise on piano as well as that of composer and arranger. He has also shown unsurpassed producing talent, having put together not only his own sessions, but those for such notable jazz artists as David "Fathead" Newman (in whose Quintet he worked for more than six years), Michele Hendricks, Jon Hendricks and several others. As a leader on six sessions, he has offered a sensible and balanced mix of his own works and jazz and classic pop standards. Raised in Louisville, KY, Leonhardt studied with veteran jazz teacherJamey Aebersold who, along with McCoy Tyner he has named as his major influences. Between his own sessions and those where he has appeared with others, he has built an extensive and substantial discography. Leonhardt has been able to attract some of the consummate rhythm players to his own session, including Lewis Nash, Peter Washington, Ray Drummond and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Showing versatility extending beyond just composing, arranging and performing, Leonhardt has developed a unique trio of CDs . Arranged for professional tap dancers, tap dance teachers and students of all levels for the study and practice of improvisation and choreography, this series is built upon the same principle as the Music Minus One series, except what the student is to provide is not the missing instrument, but the missing set of taps.
Included are a variety of jazz songs with different tempos and musical feels to provide inspiring music for tap dancing. Having a long-standing interest in this art form Leonhardt has served as musical director for the dance group Manhattan Taps for three years. Since moving to the bucolic surroundings of eastern Pennsylvania, he has held a similar position with the Muhlenberg Jazz Tap Ensemble. The pianist has also released a couple of albums with fine singer Nancy Reed including the outstanding A Time for Love. In 1993, Leonhardt also formed his own production company, Big Bang Records which has become the vehicle for most of his latest releases. Most recently, Leonhardt has been spending time bringing the marvels of jazz music to children through teaching clinics and programs designed to attract the attention of the younger set. One of his latest CD releases, Jazz For Kids, is another result still one more area of jazz Leonhardt is interested in. ~ Dave Nathan