Jazz enthusiasts in the Poconos know vocalist Nancy Reed of Bushkill from her work at the annual Celebration of the Arts and her appearances at the Deerhead Inn.
Now Reed and pianist David Leonhardt have teamed up to record a CD entitle, "A Time for Love," a delightful effort that contains 14 cuts arranged for voice and piano.
"We've been working together on and off for several years. He approached me; he just wanted to do something quiet and simple. That was about a year go," Reed said. The result is a collection of standards with an elegant simplicity and impeccable scoring that gently recommends the songs to the listener's attention.
Songs like Gerswin's "Someone to Watch Over Me" typify Reed's soft and melodic styling and Leonhardt's delicate scoring on this record. Reed, adept and perhaps better known for her work in scat and the newer variants of hazz, effortlessly evokes the smoky clubs of another era, smoothly blending her vocals with Leonhardt's understated piano.
"Little Boat" is a lively rendition of the tune offered with Latin beats, and contrasts nicely with the blues feel of the opening cut. "Since I Fell for You" typifies the appeal of this disc. That arrangement of the popular song shows the strong connection between jazz, often maligned as an inaccessible music form, and the huge body of work whichs owes its existence to that seminal genre.
On cuts like "Waltz For Debbie" and "Teach Me Tonight," the pair explore the playful and exuberant side of the music, while selections like "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "If I had You" reprise the torchy touch of jazz.
Altogether the song selection and arrangements make for an excellent effort, well balanced and with good production values, which is no surprise considering the vitae of the artists. Reed, the daughter of a jazz pianist and an opera singer, has played and sung locally and internationally with the likes of Delaware Water Gap's Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Fathead Newman and Mount Bethel's Bob Dorough, and has done extensive work on other CDs and movie soundtracks. Leonhardt has done work with Stan Getz and has had composititions covered by Newman, Stanley Turentine and Michele Hendricks.