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Peter Leitch: Self Portrait

Peter Leitch goes out on a limb with this intimate solo outing that showcases his graceful integration of chording, bass lines and melodic improvisation with an unerring sense of swing, in the great tradition of Joe Pass. Along with several intriguing originals like his Monk-ish “Brilliant Blue” and “The Woman From Lower Manhattan” (both utilizing a two-guitar overdubbed effect) and his bluesy “H&L” (dedicated to his former duet partner, the late John Hicks), Leitch turns in elegant renditions of harmonically rich fare like Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes,” Harold Arlen’s “A Sleeping Bee” and Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays.”

Other highlights include a Billy Strayhorn medley and another clever mélange that effectively joins Mingus’ “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love” with Ellington’s “Reflections.” Leitch takes great liberties with “Darn That Dream,” deftly reharmonizing that Jimmy Van Heusen nugget while extrapolating on the familiar theme, and he similarly reconfigures “I Hear a Rhapsody” with harmonic abstraction while simultaneously burning single-note lines and swinging his ass off, a la Pass. Leitch’s 16th recording as a leader is his most daring and revealing to date.

Originally Published