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Leo Sidran: Mucho Leo

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His dad, pianist, vocalist and composer Ben Sidran, was once aptly described as a “renaissance man cast adrift in a modern world.” The apple that is Leo hasn’t fallen too far from that tree. He wrote his first song at age 6, established himself as an accomplished jazz drummer while still in high school, progressed to several other instruments and spent a year of college in Spain, becoming fluent in the country’s language and music. He’s also self-produced three previous albums as leader, cofounded the Nardis (Sidran spelled backwards) label with Ben, produced discs for many other artists and, as a commercial composer, done work from such major brands as Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s and L’Oréal.

Given his résumé, it’s hardly surprising that Sidran wrote, recorded, arranged, sings and plays on all 10 tracks of the appropriately titled Mucho Leo. Vocally, he suggests an amalgam of Ben and bassist/singer John Miller, with a hint of Donald Fagen. His fluid, laidback style is reminiscent of Bob Dorough. Musically and lyrically, his compositions are smart, sharp and sparklingly original. He opens with “Speak to Me in Spanish,” a romantic nod to his lingering passion for Seville. The remaining tracks are a wonderfully varied lot, extending from the self-absorbed “Why Can’t I Have What I Want,” peace-seeking “Light Light Light” and autobiographical musings of “Where Have I Been” to the morning-after ruminations of “After the Damage Is Done” and soulmate satisfaction of “Complete.”

Originally Published