Bassist Jay Leonhart Presents Jazz at Symphony Space: Broadway Tunes to Swing

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NEW YORK, N.Y. — New York City audiences will have the rare opportunity on Sunday night, January 28, to hear “Jazz Hits from the Broadway Stage,” a swinging, intimate program of well-known Broadway show tunes performed by some of the city’s most-accomplished and well-known jazz musicians. It is sure to be a treat for general audiences and jazz lovers alike.

As conceived by jazz bassist, composer, and arranger Jay Leonhart, three-time NARAS Most Valuable Bassist, the evening’s program will consist of well-known favorites ranging from “Ain’t Misbehavin'” to “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” as well as selections from much-loved Broadway musicals such as Porgy & Bess, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, and many more.

Jay Leonhart“This is great music played for a general audience,” says Leonhart. “We’ve got some of the best musicians in New York, and we’re going to have a lot of fun. You won’t have to be a serious jazz fan to get a great, big kick out of what we’re going to do.”

A first-call jazz bassist who has recorded with pop artists from Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to Sting and Carly Simon, Jay Leonhart has also played behind, and toured with, some of the biggest names in jazz, including Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, and Peggy Lee. Celebrating his swinging, elegant style, one critic dubbed him “the Fred Astaire of jazz.”

Anchoring the evening’s program of performances along with Leonhart will be pianist Eric Reed and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Both received international attention as members of various Wynton Marsalis bands in the early 1990’s and have gone on to become highly regarded leaders of their own jazz ensembles. As a trio, Leonhart, Reed, and Gordon have been appearing regularly at The Blue Note, one of New York City’s premier jazz clubs.

The project follows Leonhart’s most recent success, a series of one-man, one-bass performances spotlighting his talents as vocalist, instrumentalist, and composer of what the Washington Post calls “wry, witty, and wonderful lyrics.” Leonhart has also recorded more than 15 of his own albums, including the recent Rodgers & Leonhart, a tribute to Broadway lyricist Richard Rodgers.

Serving as lead vocalist for the evening will be Carolyn Leonhart, a jazz and R&B performer who made her first live appearance at the age of 16, sitting in with her father at The Blue Note. She has since recorded five CDs of her own and performed with the reunited jazz and R&B band, Steely Dan. The New York Times compared her to a young Ella Fitzgerald, while All About Jazz said she “inflects her jazz singing with an unmistakable dose of soul.”

The evening will also feature the contributions of pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll. A graduate of the New England Conservatory, Carroll began her career as part of an all-girl trio entertaining troops on World War Two USO tours and later became a fixture on the jazz mecca of New York’s legendary 52nd Street. A recording artist on the Verve and Atlantic record labels, Carroll remains a popular figure with patrons of New York’s club and jazz cabaret scene.

“Jazz Hits from the Broadway Stage” is planned as the first in a series of concerts that will lead to the establishment of a Jazz at Symphony Space program, sponsoring and presenting original interpretations of classic American popular music.

Symphony Space, located at Broadway and 95th Street, is a performing arts center committed to providing “a venue for artistic growth.” In addition to presenting a wide array of literary, dance, and children’s programs, Symphony Space also plays host to musical performances that range from the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players to the Global Rhythms series.

For ticket information call: 212-864-5400 or go to www.symphonyspace.org.

[tags]bassist Jay Leonhart, Symphony Space New York[/tags]

About Christopher Simmons

Christopher Simmons has been writing about music since 1984 when he sold his first feature to Polyphony (now Electronic Musician) magazine. He has composed music for two TV cable shows, is a member of ASCAP and PRSA, and is the managing editor for Music Industry Newswire(TM), as well as the CEO of Neotrope(R) Entertainment. His 80s music can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby, among others. He played in several electronica bands in the '80s, and currently tries to find time to play with his studio gear. He is also an award winning graphic designer, photographer, author of one book "Fractopia," and has created digital art for numerous national magazines. © Christopher Laird Simmons. More at: ChristopherSimmons.com .
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