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Plays Cole Porter
Susan Frances
Sep 26, 2012

Pianist David Leonhardt produces a meaningful tribute to Cole Porter on his latest endeavor The David Leonhardt Jazz Group Plays Cole Porter from Big Bang Records. Though Leonhardt maintains the basic framework of Porter's seminal pieces such as "Night and Day" and "I've Got You Under My Skin", he tweaks them to appeal to an adult contemporary audience.

Tracks that have become American keepsakes since their origin over sixty years ago are not only preserved by Leonhardt's quintet but are also treated as new pieces of music that can be molded and groomed to bring out the warm ethers of Larry McKenna's saxophone and the lithesome rise and falls of Leonhardt's keys. The rhythmic pulsing of bassist Matthew Parish and drummer Paul Wells soften the bouncing notes of Leonhardt's keys while vocalist Nancy Reed injects a sensual stroking along the platitudes of "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" and "Night and Day".

The percolating twits of the saxophone dotting "In the Still of the Night" spice up the upbeat tempo and mollifies to a smooth strut across "Every Time We Say Goodbye". The ruffling of the keys crisscrossing through the phrases of "Just One of Those Things" produces a ballroom ambience and the gentle flow of Leonhardt's notes looping through "Love for Sale" induce a deep-seeded longing. The sedate shuffling of the piano keys along "I Love You" switch to a trotting tempo in "It's All Right with Me" while the bluesy atmospheric of "I Concentrate on You" twinkle with a nocturnal glow. The bass pumps of "Get out of Town" climb up and down the coiling keys and cradle the soft silhouettes of the saxophone along "All of You".

Oscillating between peaceful and joyful, David Leonhardt shows a visceral understanding of Cole Porter's mindset. Refined and relaxing, Leonhardt's new recording has a loving touch that Cole Porter has been known for possessing and propels these tracks into modern times.

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