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Ben Aronov/Jay Leonhart: Alone Together

The sound of this newly released album, made in 1982, is more real and more musical than most digital recordings made today. The legendary engineer Roger Rhodes recorded it in an equally fabled room, RCA Studio A in New York. He used an analog tape deck and three vintage microphones-two on Ben Aronov’s Steinway and one on Jay Leonhart’s bass.

Both Aronov and Leonhart have been active in the diverse New York music scene for many years, but only Leonhart is well known in jazz circles. Aronov had a long run on Broadway with the musical Cats and now lives in the south of France.

Roger Rhodes’ decision to release Alone Together is justified, because this session evokes a warm, suave, softly glowing atmosphere from the opening title track and sustains it.

The duo format provides generous space for Leonhart’s bass. He is a storyteller, his fluid narratives always carried forward by the gentle snap of his swing. Aronov’s primary mode is romanticism, lush yet firm, on pieces like “A Child Is Born” and “My One and Only Love.” But he also is up to challenging material like Lennie Tristano’s angular “April.”

All those who missed Ben Aronov can, thanks to Roger Rhodes, discover him here-better 25 years late than never.

Originally Published