He played for six years in saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman's quintet and four years backing singer Jon Hendricks, the master of vocalese, or putting words to jazz solos. He also has introduced thousands of children to jazz, and has recorded specially for tap dancers. And, as he shows here, Easton, Pa., pianist David Leonhardt leads a trio that plays a strong blend of Cadillac swing, full of long lines and swirling licks that give pleasure without pain.
This trio recording is a straight-ahead affair with few surprises except good taste. Leonhardt, who studied with jazz educator Jamey Aebersold and served as musical director for the Manhattan Tap troupe, is an easy guy to dance to. Six of nine tunes are originals, and they are highly approachable, as is Leonhardt's Jazz for Kids disc. Drummer Taro Okamoto and bassist Tony Marino provide the slick locomotion for Leonhardt's amiable style.