Wycliffe Gordon and Jay Leonhart: This Rhythm on My Mind

Wycliffe Gordon has a little bit of gravel in his voice and it adds to the impact of his impressive scatting chops. Of course, he’s no slack on the trombone either, fluent in everything from old-time blues to heartfelt balladry. As both a player and singer, bassist Jay Leonhart is also a master storyteller. With only an occasional saxophonist or percussionist dropping in, these two comrades hold the floor on This Rhythm on My Mind, thanks to their strong musical personalities and rapport.

“I Want My Blooz Back” and “Toast My Bread” find Gordon channeling his inner Satchmo and Fats Waller. Leonhart’s scatting and bass solos are often one and the same, since his voice matches his instrument note for note. When he takes the lead vocal, Gordon switches over to tuba and didgeridoo on one track each, and things continue to sound buoyant. The duo’s playful nature is apparent throughout most of the album, especially on “Mr. Leonhart, Mr. Gordon,” appropriated from the ancient Gallagher & Sheen comedy duo. Their musical discretion ensures that things never get too silly, and their harmonized, soulful vocals on “All Alone” make extra players completely unnecessary.