A fantastic collection of seven Latin, jazz and blues piano pieces, composed by Steven Rosenhaus, Eric Ewazen, Astor Piazzolla and Morton Gould. Each of these works was originally composed as a solo piano work. Shifting from 'classically' composed, Laura transformed them with arrangements in collaboration with Grammy award-winning tenor saxophonist Richie Cannata, Nicki Parrott on bass, Adam Snyder on drums, and the internationally renowned Brazilian percussionist Cafe.
Changing the Pace features Rosenhaus' Samba and Two True Blues, Eric Ewazen's Gumbo Limbo from his A Suite from the Cloud Forest, and Morton Gould's toe-tapping and full-of-swing Pavanne, which has been adored since it first came on the music scene in 1938. Astor Piazzolla's Tango Ultimo takes the tango to a whole new level.
Imani Mosley's review of a recent performance Laura gave of Samba and Two True Blues at Queens College's Lefrak Concert Hall stated:
"The piece was delightfully blissful, the first, light and airy and the second, soft and jazzy. It sounded perfect for a concert hall and yet it had the air of belonging somewhere else as well, like somewhere in the Village."
Laura Leon has been heralded for the special touch she brings to both her solo and collaborative performances at the piano. She has broadened the spectrum of American music and where it can be experience and has brought composers and their works to audiences, beyond traditional concert venues to new settings and special events.
Embracing American contemporary repertoire in a unique way, The New Music Connoisseur has called her performances"an even blend of fine technique, intelligence and passion." The Knight News' wrote: "I found myself captivated by the sound of the piece with its rich chords and the performances of Ms. Leon."
Laura has received wide acclaim and recognition for her performances and recordings of a wide roster of American composers-including Peter Schickele, William Bolcom, Hugo Weisgall, Leo Kraft, Steven Rosenhaus, and Eric Ewazen. Performances include Heifer's International Bee Day Celebration, The White House/Capitol Hill's Days of Remembrance, and Weisgall's The Golden Peacock with the soprano Emily Duncan-Brown. She has conceived and collaborated on several live performance multimedia works--Found in Nature and PRO.JECT. She was the music director for, and performed on the soundtrack of the 2006 Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden Life, which aired on PBS.
An extraordinary group of musicians joined Laura to make this album:
Grammy-award winning tenor saxophonist Richie Cannata was a member of Billy Joel’s band from 1975-1981. He can be heard on his recordings and recently played on Billy Joel’s last CD. He will be performing with him on his 2005-2006 tour. Richie has played on Celine Dion and Brian Wilson’s newest CDs and has performed at ‘Fanfare” in Nashville. For the last 10 years he has been a member of the Beach Boys, has guest starred with them on television on “Full House” and “Baywatch,” and has appeared in the film “Slaves of New York”. He has produced albums for Phoebe Snow, Rita Coolidge, Corey Hart and Tommy Shaw.
Australian acoustic bass player Nicki Parrott performs weekly with the legendary guitarist Les Paul, a longstanding New York collaboration. She has performed with Clark Terry, Bill Taylor, DIVA, Skitch Henderson and David Kraukauer among many, and has performed at numerous international jazz festivals including the Newport, Lionel Hampton, the Berlin, the Edinburgh and Grimsby in the United Kingdom and several Australian festivals. With her sister, the fabulous saxophonist Lisa Parrott, she produced and recorded the CD “The Awabakal Suite.”
Drummer Adam Snyder has played and recorded with Jack Bruce, Neil Sedaka, Eliot Randall, Preston Smith, Rat Race Choir and Debra Barsha. He was the featured Drumset player for Babetunde Olantunjis’ “Drums of Passion” for five years and for the past year played for the first National tour of the Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp Broadway musical “Movin’ Out”. He has recorded with both the MacGollehons’ “Smoking Section” and The New York No Stars.
Café, the celebrated Brazilian percussionist and Grammy-award winner, has been heard around the world in concert and on a multitude of recordings. With his versatile range of styles and extraordinary collection of instruments, both indigenous and some created by hand, Café has perfomed with the world’s top musicians across the musical spectrum, including Steve Winwood, James Taylor, Chuck Mangione, top Brazilian musicians Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Roberta Flack, Sadoo Watanabe, and has also recorded with the acclaimed classical clarinetist Richard Stolzman.