From the liner notes:
Christmas and music were inseparable at the Leonard family household. My brother and I were mediocre horn players at best, but each holiday season we would organize a brass quartet and brave the frigid temperatures to visit neighbors and relatives. Garry’s favorite music teacher, Herman Dash, joined us in celebration every Christmas Eve and his scathing reviews of our performances would leave us in stitches. It is in that same lighthearted spirit that the Leonard Brothers bring you A Simpler Christmas Time. The songs are secular, not saintly. The music is tasty, not technical. The rhythms are mellow, not maniacal. Like our previous CD, we went to great lengths to ensure that the tempo at the end of each song was the same as when the song began. So sit back, avoid the Christmas “rush” and enjoy A Simpler Christmas Time.
Garry Leonard – Drums
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University on a full music scholarship, Garry toured the U.S. with brother Gerry and pianist Alan Broadbent. He settled in Kansas City and began a career in music education with the North Kansas City School District. He’s played with various groups in KC as well as the Starlight Theater, KC Chiefs Band and the Kansas City Symphony.
Gerry Leonard – Bass
Gerry played trumpet through college and following graduation, toured the U.S. playing bass with brother Garry for several years. He’s played with many local Kansas City musicians including long stints with such notables as Frank Smith, Richard Ross and Joe Cartwright.
Janie Leonard Spring – Bells
Janie Leonard Spring earned a degree in education, but changed direction and spent 25 years with ExxonMobil. Though not a professional musician, she enjoyed singing and dancing with her musical parents and brothers. She now resides in Houston.
Danny Embrey – Guitar
Danny is a local musician, guitar instructor and recording artist with an international reputation. He toured for many years with Sergio Mendez, was a member of Clare Fisher’s Latin Band and most recently has been touring with Concord recording artist, Karrin Allyson.
Paul Smith - Piano/Synthesizer
For over 30 years, Paul has maintained the perfect dual career – a music teacher by day and a jazz musician by night. Paul has worked with a plethora of locally and nationally known jazz artists and has appeared at jazz festivals in Berlin and Montreaux.
Gary Helm – Latin Percussion
Gary has been performing in the Kansas City area for the past 25 years, specializing in percussion and electric bass. He has toured the U.S. extensively with such well-known artists as Chaka Khan, the O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Mike White – Tenor Saxophone
Mike White is a lawyer and former county executive whose first love has always been jazz. He has worked with Ralph Martieri, Cab Calloway, Buddy Morrow, Jay McShann and many other Kansas City jazz musicians. Mike has spent a great deal of time in the 18th and Vine area, sitting in with such jazz notables as Charles Kynard and Wes Montgomery.
Mike Metheny – Trumpet
Mike Metheny is a Kansas City native and a former instructor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While in Boston, Mike led a popular quartet that appeared at many top jazz venues and festivals around the country. To date he has released six solo recordings and is the editor of JAM, the Kansas City Jazz Ambassador Magazine.