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Jazz For Kids
Frank Rubolino
Cadence
Apr 24, 2003
 

The Leonhardt Jazz Group features Reed singing songs typically associated with children’s playgrounds, plus some straight instrumental offerings by the quartet. They are all presented in a swinging manner. Leonhardt guides the program from the piano chair, and the band gets into a steady groove with its upbeat, straight-ahead style. Saxophonist McKenna lays down some mellow licks, and the rhythm section sets the lively pace for these delightful excursions that reflect on childhood dreams. Reed follows the melody line with her vocals, but she takes off with frequent rounds of scatting. She uses altered phrasing as well to get into the Jazz mold very convincingly. While the approach is traditional, with Leonhardt or McKenna improvising during the vocal breaks and Okamoto and Marino keeping the standard time, the session has an uplifting quality. Leonhardt is on a mission to attract young people to this music, and he is doing it by offering them songs they recognize. The audience may be youthful, but there is nothing childish about this performance that is suited to adults as well.

 
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