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Carolyn Leonhart: New 8th Day

Carolyn Leonhart

Among the Leonhart clan, the jazz smarts don’t fall too far from the family tree. Singer Carolyn (along with her trumpeter brother Michael) is every bit as bracingly impassioned and sharply intuitive as bassist papa Jay. On New 8th Day, Leonhart’s first solo album since 2000’s superlative Steal the Moon, the former Steely Dan backup singer and frontwoman for the cutting edge pop/lounge act Lyn Leon teams with another brilliant bassist, Hans Glawischnig (plus her husband, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, pianist Rick Germanson and drummers Donald Edwards and Jason Brown) for 10 inspired tracks.

On “Sometimes I Think,” written by Jay, she sings, “Sometimes I think I’ve got nothing in common with the rest of the human race.” True enough. Any commonality extends solely to that tiny sliver of the humanity represented by consummate jazz stylists. Leonhart, who simultaneously suggests the retro bleat of Billie Holiday and the modern cool of Patricia Barber, demonstrates her stunning intelligence with virtuoso treatments of a “Whisper Not” electrified with a seductive urgency, an “If I Should Lose You” revitalized as a scintillating bossa and a gently flowing “Moon River” that recalls the effervescence of Vince Guaraldi. Absolute magic.

Originally Published