Ask Leonisa about her earliest musical memory and she’ll say “Puccini, in utero.” Raised by two opera lovers in a house filled with music, she learned at a young age the art of interpreting songs. She studied piano, violin, oboe, clarinet, flute, saxophone, and voice. Originally a soprano – studying opera and classical music – her voice dropped in her twenties (ask her about that!) and she discovered her love for singing Jazz.
Leonisa’s diverse interests and broad education shine through in her singing, live performance and writing. A one-time biologist, then science teacher, Leonisa earned a Ph.D. in International Educational Development and became a university professor. All the while, she studied jazz with various teachers in NYC and performed regularly with her band. Still firmly committed to improving education, Leonisa currently is the Executive Director of the Salvadori Center – a non-profit that uses the built environment to teach teachers and children about architecture, engineering and urban planning.
Leonisa met guitarist Chris Jennings in 1994 and a jazz duo was born, which developed into a series of combos over the years. The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet which features Jennings on guitar, Bob Sabin on bass and Justin Hines on drums, has been playing together for eight years – and it shows. They support and feed one another, creating a tight, energetic jazz experience. The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet interprets jazz standards and originals in a way that will in turn have you weeping for a lost love and smiling with joy. The mood of the CD fluctuates between silly and sad, intense and light-hearted, bold and sublime.