These are songs I used to listen to when I was a teenager and I have had them in my head since then. David Leonhardt
David Leonhardt’s passion is to bring the jazz and creative music experience to as many people in the world as he can in a way that allows them to be transported to a higher plain of thought and emotion.
David Leonhardt Piano -Career Highlights
Twenty plus years with saxophonist legend David “Fathead” Newman: arranging and playing on five CDs, international tours. Four year as musical director for jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks: international tours, jazz festivals, radio and TV broadcasts. President and founder of Big Bang Records with twenty five CDs as a leader. Twenty leading The David Leonhardt Jazz Group a concert ensemble with hundreds of performances: theaters, Universities, Colleges, festivals, arts organizations US, Canada and Europe. Twelve years freelance experience in New York City. Broadway to the Today Show, jazz clubs to dance halls, Bar Mitzvahs and weddings to cabaret clubs and Lincoln Center, jingles to jazz records. Twenty years performing with legendary Tap Dancers. Musical director for Manhattan Tap and The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers including National and European tours, television and DVDs. Decades of experiences as a jazz educator in universities, colleges, clinics and workshops. Fifteen years of presenting “Jazz For Kids” an interactive children's program.
First jazz experience playing piano as a teenager with jazz educator Jamey Aebersold in concerts, clubs and school presentations in Louisville, KY.
First professional engagement at the age of 14 in a teenage rock band. First road experience with a southern rock band touring Dixie age 16.
Matthew Parish Bass
A rising star of the jazz bass Matthew Parrish has performed with Clark Terry, Marian McPartland and Harry "Sweets" Edison. He has performed or recorded with, Regina Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham, Shirley Scott, Al Grey, Stefon Harris, and Greg Osby.
Paul Wells Drums
A native of Pittsburgh Paul has been an in demand percussionist on the New York jazz scene for years. He has performed and recorded with a many jazz greats and wasy the drummer on a national tour with rocker Debbie Harry. of Blondie fame He also holds the drum chair in The Duke Ellington Legacy Band. A versatile musician with years of experience he has performed with Joe Williams, The Duke Ellington Legacy Band, The Monday Night Village Vanguard Orchestra, Randy Brecker, Eric Alexander, Rufus Reid, Mark Murphy, Rick Margitza, Dave Valentin, and Houston Person.
David Leonhardt, jazz pianist and composer, is a highly skilled and versatile artist. His fourty years of professional experience has included recordings, T.V. and radio, concerts and festivals, night clubs and stage shows. He has appeared internationally throughout North and South America, Europe, the Middle and Far East with some of the biggest names in jazz. He leads his own concert ensemble The David Leonhardt Jazz Group and is the founder and president of Big Bang Records with fifteen CDs as a leader. Mr. Leonhardt is on the roster of The Pennsylvania Arts On Tour and gives educational clinics worldwide.
Performing and studying as a teenager in Louisville, Kentucky with noted educator Jamey Aebersold, Mr. Leonhardt acquired his skills backing such diverse jazz talents as Buddy Defranco, Dave Liebman, and Buddy Tate. After moving to New York City in his twenties Mr. Leonhardt established himself as an international performing artist when he toured for four years as musical director for jazz legend Jon Hendricks, accompanying vocalists such as Diane Reeves and Bobby McFarren. Joining The David "Fathead" Newman Quintet he furthered his reputation as a burning jazz pianist and made his name familiar on the New York jazz scene. He went on to form his own band performing in the U.S., Japan, and Europe. In 1991 he founded Big Bang Records and released his first CD "Departure" to great critical acclaim as well as his popular CD "Reflections".
Mr. Leonhardt has produced, arranged, and performed on numerous recordings with jazz stars Stan Getz, Slide Hampton, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Henderson, Robin Eubanks, Ray Drummond, and Lewis Nash. His compositions have been recorded by such jazz greats as Stanley Turentine, David "Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, and Claudio Roditi. He has written arrangements for The Art Blakey Big Band and been guest conductor and arranger for The Benny Carter Orchestra.
At present Mr. Leonhardt is leading his own band with successful appearances at the International Arts Festival of Shenzen in China, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, The French Maison de Dance in Lyon, as well festivals and concerts throughout the United States. His all star group has been heard at The Apollo Theater, The Blue Note, and Birdland. He is the musical director for The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers a popular all female dance group.
What The Critics say about David Leonhardt
"David Leonhardt, an intense and swinging artist alert to every mood."
Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times
"The David Leonhardt Trio provided first rate jazz."
“Leonhardt’s deft and airy piano touch, always romantic and brightly swinging”
“Leonhardt is an inventive stylist”
"The superb David Leonhardt Trio...."
New York Post
"Mr. Leonhardt on piano is also musical director. The troupe is fortunate to have him."
New York Times
"...David Leonhardt, who played with ease, respect, and good cheer."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Leonhardt explored the piece in a solo that showed his understanding of space as well as notes."
New York Newsday
“Leonhardt andassociates are serious artists. When they sink into a groove and let the music carry them away, the audience is transported!”
"...a stellar rhythm section , featuring David Leonhardt on piano."
"Backed by the superb David Leonhardt Trio, with expert and sensitive piano work by Leonhardt."
"... a fiery solo by pianist David Leonhardt."
"Leonhardt is doing just fine in the jazz world."
Louisville Courier Journal
What The Critics say about
David Leonhardt’s CD “Bach To The Blues”
Leonhardt’s arrangements are delightful, as poetic as one could hope for, the improvised sections only carrying the poetry further.” Pamela Espeland www.bebopified.blogspot.com
”. Leonhardt’s crisp, taut trio …tasteful, heartfelt, elegant embellishment.Bach to the Blues works because Leonhardt is an
appealing pianist with enthusiasm, polish and wit.” Allaboutjazz Sept 20, 2010 by Thomas Conrad
“...the trio lets the creativity flow. Somewhere, Mozart is certainly smiling.” Ernest Barteldes aalaboutjazz.com
“a fine testament to Leonhardt, a pianist of great finesse and an arranger of some imagination.” Ian Patterson allaboutjazz.com
“Leonhardt’s improvisation on Satie’s well-known Gymnopedie No. 1 an impressive take on this lovely and moody piece.””
John Henry Audiophile Audition
“the music is timeless and carries a unique fingerprint” German jazz blog edelhagen.de
“If you love jazz and classical - and have ears that are open improvisation on some of the great classical works, this one’s for you” .Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes
“Leonhardt fuses two of the greatest art forms of all time to make some of the most beautiful music of the year. “
~Jon Norton, WGLT Normal, IL
“ Leonhardt takes the starch out of traditional fixtures in classical pieces and opens them up… dazzling frills and eloquent trimmings… a master craftsman, explores his abilities with the will of an adventurer.” Jazz Times Susan Frances
“Zapping classical music into the jazz arena may have been done before, but probably rarely so effectively and tastefully.” Babysue.com
“ Classy stuff, presented with style... The result is strangely inviting...” LMNOP.com
“Fun stuff that’s a first class diversion from the mainstream… jazzed up classics after hours style.” MIDWEST RECORD CHRIS SPECTOR
“Discs like this offer endless entertainment to both jazz and classical- heads alike. Happen to be both? All the better.” All About Jazz C. Michael Bailey
“…it decides to settle into a Friday evening groove and one wishes it would last forever…, and it sounds great. Thisbooksmusic.com
“…a dangerous thing to do, inviting the ire of both classical and jazz listeners but with just enough improvisation and musical personality to appeal to jazz listeners. Leonhardt does it with class.” jsojazzscene.org
“The performances are wonderfully conceived and executed, resulting in an album that will satisfy listeners who love jazz or classical music…” Joe Lang -Jersey Jazz
“Pianist David Leonhardt presents a tasteful marriage of classical music and jazz, sprinkled with a touch of the blues, an improvisational statement on classical themes that is surprisingly entertaining.” Edward Blanco All About Jazz
, they are a very tight jazz trio that will hold your attention and inspire you with their way of doing these tunes. Rotcod Zzaj-IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation
. With Bach to the Blues, David Leonhardt uses the jazz imagination to reinvent classical themes, and in doing so, creates new and delightful music. Andrea Canter jazzpolice.com
“…lovingly interprets Bach preludes, Chopin Mazurkas, and music by Beethoven, Schubert, Satie, and Pachelbel into a jazz idiom. What is amazing is not that it works so well, but how right it all sounds.” Steve Siegel The Morning Call
This is a thoroughly enjoyable album, the musicianship is very good indeed and should appeal to jazz and classical music listeners alike. ~John M. Peters, The Borderland (Musicwatch column)
“ David and his trio pull it off, a good transformation. ” -- D. Oscar Groomes O's Place Jazz Magazine
“Leonhardt has a strong sense of a basic blues, well informed and smoothly released. It's a nice little romp –“ Adam Greenberg ALLMUSIC.com
“ ..a fine pianist!” Keynotes Don Albert
What The Critics say about
David Leonhardt’s CD “Explorations”
“Leonhardt looms as a vivid storyteller.. a superfine effort...with a melding of eloquence and passion. “ Glenn Astarita Jazzreview.com
“Leonhardt's piano work as remarkable as ever... trio jazz in its finest form...Leonhardt's own "Winter Waltz" would make Dave Brubeck smile...
The Run Off Groove John Book
“Simply superb piano from David Leonhardt..., you've NEVER heard interpretations as spirited as these! ...MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” indieonestop.com Rotcod Zzaj
“this is cool, hip stuff that is sly, musical as well as lyrical, and zesty, snappy and tasty throughout.....sounds like a spiritual tribute to the original Ramsey Lewis Trio in their pre-”In Crowd” era.” Midwestrecord.com Chris Spector
“Leonhardt and his able trio swing with an easy, dancing and playful swagger.... Leonhardt has a light airy touch that traverses the keyboard with a dance-like quality....A solid piece of straight-ahead piano trio work.” jazz.com Ralph A. Miriello
The David Leonhardt Trio... exceptional...."Explorations" puts a new twist on classic songs....a great sound. ...highly recommended!” Metro Spirit Augusta Ga RICH MCCRACKEN II
“As honest, balanced and flexible a musician as there is in jazz, Leonhardt and this truly excellent trio needs to be heard....a gorgeous, near perfect interpretation of Horace Silver's "Peace...”AlLMUSIC.com by Michael G. Nastos
“Leonhardt's strong keyboard lead, paced by the fiery play of both Garnett and Parrish,... Late Night Blues," a driving piece with an insistent, almost addictive beat...” geezermusic club Big Geez
“A man for any and all seasons, David Leonhardt has demonstrated on many occasions his expertise on piano as well as that of composer and arranger.... “ All Music Guide David Nathan
“Pianist David Leonhardt, who gigged for years with saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman, is a rare top-flight jazz player....” Philadelphia Inquirer Karl Stark
“The kind of musical intensity heard on the best Keith Jarrett sessions!” Cadence Magazine
“This new CD will enhance not only his reputation but his trio as well… heartfelt playing. Overall, this is a CD for music lovers who think they can't relate to jazz music. Jazzchicago.net Jean Timmons
What The Critics say about
David Leonhardt’s CD “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
What the critics say:
“The former David "Fathead" Newman Quintet pianist David Leonhardt and his swinging friends, perform X-Mas evergreens with an engaging spirit and an abundance of musical intelligence. The makeover of "We Three Kings" is particularly fresh, and the dramatic focus on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is as impressive as a prize ornament on the tree.” DownBeat Magazine Frank-John Hadley
“If you could rate CD reviews by kisses, I would have my
lip marks all over this disc. David Leonhardt has created something special for us”
The Musicians' Ombudsman- George W. Carroll
Jazz aficionados will flip for the David Leonhardt Jazz Group's I'll Be Home for Christmas . It's a classic! Christmas Reviews.com Carol Swanson
“ ...holiday songs with a welcome jazz spirit...The pianist brings a warm glow to each song. He fashions each interpretation so that it stands out as an improvised work that the group can explore thoroughly.” All About Jazz .com- Jim Santella
“In the humble opinion of this reviewer, I'll Be Home For Christmas is the tastiest holiday album in recent years.” jazzreview.com - Richard Bourcier
“A pushing the speed limit “Sleigh Ride”. ...The ensemble’s tight, rhythmically vibrant sound......a newfallen snow freshness to “Let It Snow” They know just how much to twist a tune to brighten it up....solos that glide gracefully along...” Cadence Magazine
“The best in this genre I’ve heard this season so far. Leonhardt’s enjoyment comes thru” Audiophile Audition - John Henry
“I am loving the new CD, "I'll be Home For Christmas"...The arrangements are brilliant. Wonderful job from start to finish. The Jazz Nation- Albert Khalis Pride
“It’s a pleasure to come home to The David Leonhardt Jazz Group’s Santa’s bag full of traditional and familiar musical presents delivered in this far from ordinary CD. Hang I’ll Be Home for Christmas on the tree, top or bottom, or just wrap it up. You can forget the bow though; it’s pretty enough by itself.” JazzImprov Magazine Bob Gish
“He fashions each interpretation so that it stands out as an improvised work that the group can explore thoroughly. together, they turn over clusters of brightness that come surrounded by a hearty rhythmic foundation.“ Radio Jazz Josylyn Tillar
“Jazz lovers will have a ball with I'll Be Home For Christmas, it is the kind of album that you might even want to pick up outside the Holiday season” Greenwich Village Gazette Ernest Barteldes
“This helped erase the holiday cynicism better than eggnog and brandy.” JazzTimes Magazine-Tad Hendrickson
“A cozy combo album perfect for hearing as those chestnuts roast on an open fire. Creatively jazzed up!” Hot House Magazine George Kanzler
“It’s the arrangements, they are killer! This one’s getting stereo time at my place well after the holiday season, it’s that good! It is David Leonhardt’s arranging that brings out the magic in these holiday originals. Rating 10 out of 10” Jazz Exodus Magazine Steve Laury
“BRILLIANT....Absolutely brilliant.....your holiday record I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is a joy to play”. Eric Cohen - Music Director--WAER Radio
“Leonhardt has created a musical context that's as large with possibilities as his appealing piano playing.....the entire CD is a great reappraisal of holiday classics that you're sure to enjoy. AllMusic.com Paula Edelstein
“David Leonhardt has some Guaraldi in his playing and a lot of Leonhardt. It’s a jazz piano workout... good solid music.” Senior Life Magazine- Kirk Silsbee
“Saxophone and vocals add to the David Leonhardt Jazz Group, but it is still Dave's excellent work on the keys that puts "I'll Be Home For Christmas." in the “recommended” category“ Post Crescent, WI - Gerry Grzyb
“The David Leonhardt Jazz Group delivers some solid traditional sounds in “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” a most tasty collection of familiar carols and songs. Leonhardt’s arrangements are are lively and frequently whimsical....Leonhardt’s solid keyboard chops are evident on every track.” The David Enterprise-Derrick Bang
“"I'll Be Home for Christmas," a sensuous holiday disc sure to warm up the coldest winter night. ...Leonhardt's incredible piano playing...” Rosemary Pratka- The Morning Call
What The Critics say about
David Leonhardt’s CD “Plays Gershwin”
The release of an all-Gershwin record when played as lovingly as David Leonhardt does surely is welcome.
David shines on the piano, the tenor soars, and you've got a great rhythm section that cooks. By picking a tasteful vocalist such as Nancy Reed, David Leonhardt allows the listener to enjoy some easygoing pleasurable Jazz.
I find that his new CD The David Leonhardt Jazz Group Plays Gershwin is charming and lighthearted, and it lifts my spirits
Speaking my Piece -Texaco and the Arts
In addition to his technical mastery of the instrument, jazz pianist and
arranger David Leonhardt is a creative soloist and an intuitive and
The David Leonhardt Jazz Group Plays Gershwin appealed to me in a way that few other jazz recordings do. Featuring Nancy Reed on vocals and excellent side men, I can’t explain why it enchanted me so.
It is the lyrical pianism of David Leonhardt and the articulate vocalizing of long time collaborator Reed which lifts this album. This is outstanding work!
All About Jazz
William Livingstone, Texaco.com
"Leonhardt himself enchants me."
Portland Jazz Reviews
"Leonhardt is an engaging pianist on his own. "
Lucy Galliher, JazzNow.com
"David shines on the piano, and you've got a great rhythm section that cooks"
Mark Corroto, netjazz.com
"Gershwin when played as lovingly as David Leonhardt surely is welcome."
Herb Young, International Association of Jazz Record Collectors
"This compact disc can rank up there with the best of them. "
Daniel Shearer, Time Off
"We got a great response from the album..."
Bill Falconer, Jazzreview.com
"David Leonhart is a creative soloist and an intuitive and sympathetic accompanist."
Dave Nathan, All About Jazz
"It is the lyrical pianism of David Leonhardt which lifts this album."