Acclaimed Jazz Bassist and Composer Jay Leonhart Celebrates His Life in Music with One-Man (and One-Bass) Jazz Cabaret Show

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NEW YORK, NY (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- What do you get a first-call jazz bassist who has played behind everyone from Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra to Carly Simon and Sting, whose compositions have been recorded by artists ranging from Blossom Dearie and John Pizzarelli to Lee Konitz and Gary Burton, and whose non-stop poetry writing has produced thousands of examples of jazz verse and more than 100 published songs? Why, a show of his own, of course!

And that's what three-time NARAS Most Valuable Bassist Jay Leonhart will bring to the West Coast this month with performances at Steinway Hall (Fields Piano, 12121 Pico Bl.) in Los Angeles, April 11, and The Empire Plush Room at the York Hotel, April 14-16, in San Francisco.

*(Photo Caption: Jay Leonhart and his Bass Take Center Stage in Upcoming West Coast Appearances.)

Holding forth on-stage with only his bass and his remarkably supple voice, with a lifetime of trenchant observations and poignant, carefully etched vignettes at his disposal, Jay Leonhart triumphs in a one-man show critics have lauded for its "wry, witty, and wonderful lyrics" (The Washington Post), "a whimsical imagination combined with artfully understated musical virtuosity" (The Los Angeles Times), and "craftsmanship so seamless that casual observers often fail to grasp its immensity" (Jazz Times).

Described by one critic as "the Fred Astaire of jazz," Jay Leonhart combines a smoothly swinging jazz sensibility with storytelling of a decidedly clever and insightful nature, making the most of a casual air-flight encounter with Leonard Bernstein ("Soon we're chatting, drinking, talking, like the very best of pals / Talking music, life, and art, death, and root canals") or celebrating a comical surprise (on keeping dogs away from the bass, he reminds the listener, "they're made of wood, you know").

Whether contemplating the wonders of the Wonder Bra or marveling at his wife's long-held secrets (as a girl she saw the Dodgers play at Ebbets Field), Jay Leonhart draws on a lifetime of experience as a jazz bassist and composer of the highest caliber and a close observer of life's many amusements and follies (his innately clever nature named him "Class Wit" in high school).

A first-call jazz bassist who has played behind, and toured with, some of the biggest names in jazz, including Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall, Mel Torme, Marian McPartland, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band Orchestra, Jay Leonhart is also an accomplished vocalist, composer, and bandleader who has recorded more than 15 of his own albums.

Among those releases are the recent Rodgers & Leonhart, a tribute to lyricist Richard Rodgers, and Cool, a jazz trio outing that critics have described as "an album awash in colorful arrangements" (All About Jazz) and a "bop masterpiece" (All Music Guide).

In a one-man performance that combines the hip swing of intimate, cocktail-hour jazz with the finely honed skills of stand-up comedy and comedic storytelling -- think of a modern-day Will Rogers, only replace the lariat with a bass -- Jay Leonhart brings to the stage a deeply humorous perspective on daily life that is effortlessly combined with singing, playing, and songwriting that achieve the highest levels of accomplished jazz artistry. It's a show not to miss.

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