(01 February 2002) For a young singer who was literally born into the jazz scene Carolyn Leonhart has an uncommonly diverse resume and a surprising range of options. American audiences are getting to know her as one of the backup singers to Steely Dan, a position she has occupied since the Becker/Fagancombine reunited in 1996. Others may know her as the singer fronting Lyn Leon on the Glass Lounge (review) album. Steal The Moon (Sunnyside (USA) SSC 1086D, 2000) is her solo album. It is a ten-track selection of jazz-influenced material.
The album includes four quality standards and a choice Mose Allison tune ("It Didn't Turn Out That Way") as well as a number of songs by pianist, composer/lyricist and vocalist Rob Bargad. Many will be familiar with "Nature Boy," but Leonhart's evocative treatment will delight listeners to this album.
Steal The Moon also serves as a reintroduction to Bargad, who has previously been known for his playing and instrumental composing ("Juju Knows"), who who was featured for years in the quintet of the late Nat Adderley. One key to Bargad's success is his insistence on creating lyrics and music together. Bargad had no second thoughts about giving "All Because Of You," "Steal The Moon" and "Yesterday's A Dream" to Leonhart. The songs speak lyrically to their audience.
The album also features a supporting cast of musicians that share a history with one or the other of the singers. Jay Leonhart, of course, is Carolyn's father. Jimmy Cobb was Bargad's rhythm section partner in the Adderley group. Both Billy Drummond and Daniel Sandownick participated in the pianist's 1993 debut CD. The players have helped Leonhart and Bargad to create an album with all the charge and feeling and far more originality than we have come to expect from young singers. It offers the promise more great promise from both.
Bob Blumenthal comments, "Someone with Carolyn Leonhart's talent and intelligence can surely pursue more than one path, and will no doubt go her own way. Based on the music she creates here, those of us who treasture truly great singing, whatever the marketing forces in the music industry choose to call it, will be following her progress for a long time."
Learn more about the artist at her website.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Clearly an recording be explored at length, the debut album by Carolyn Leonhart is worth a trans-Atlantic journey; it is a must listen!