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Jay Leonhart: Rodgers and Leonhart

Jay Leonhart’s latest, a leisurely stroll through Mister Rodgers’ classy neighborhood, is as cozy and comfortable as a Fred MacMurray cardigan. Ah, but don’t let the relaxed atmosphere fool you. Leonhart is the Fred Astaire of jazz-a craftsman so seamlessly smooth that casual observers often fail to grasp the immensity of his talent.

As a bass player, Leonhart’s in the same exalted league as his mentor, teacher and musical hero, Ray Brown. As a vocalist, he remains, much like Astaire, significantly underappreciated. They share the same reedy ability to compensate for a limited range with masterful phrasing and impeccable timing.

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