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"The charming, sensuous style of Leonhardt transports me to that place Baudelaire wrote about in his poems."

William Livingstone,

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Jul 1, 1993

David Leonhardt isn't a household name, but chances are good that you've heard this pianist's music over the years. Besides stints with vocalist Jon Hendricks and saxman David "Fathead" Newman, and as co-leader with singer Michele Hendricks, Leonhardt has arranged for Art Blakey's and Benny Carter's big bands and has seen his compositions recorded by the likes of Hank Crawford and Stanley Turrentine. What each of these artists have in common is a love melody, precisely what Leonhardt brings to the table on his impressive debut as leader, Departure. Swinging and enterprising support from trumpeter Eddie Henderson, saxophonist Rich Perry, trombonist Robin Eubanks, drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Ray Drummond add plenty of meat to the three standards and seven solid originals here. Leonhardt, an inventive stylist with a nice compositional imagination (check out "Funny Walk") has put together a disc that should establish him as far more than just another sideman.

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