Monday, November 07, 2011

Kenny & Leah - All About Love (2011)

Saxophonist Kenny Solderblom and his wife, Leah, are seasoned jazz veterans who make music for a specific audience: fans of the great American songbook. That's not to say others won't like what they hear but for those listeners who have a special affinity for the genre the couple’s fifth CD should prove to be quite impressive.

All About Love is an aptly named collection because love is the subject of almost every song. Most of the tunes pre-date the rock era but they are spiced up with Kenny's modern sax playing that helps make the whole affair more appealing than it would otherwise be to a younger audience. Leah's strong vocals prove she would have made a fine big band singer.

The Solderbloms' excellent studio hands make sure everything is humming along smoothly, especially veteran Jay Leonhardt on bass and all-star Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar. There is nothing remotely progressive or alternative about the music but every arrangement is so well-crafted and so expertly played that one tends to notice those assets more than the songs themselves. Pianist and music director John Oddo was successful in preventing the sessions from descending into sappiness even though he uses a real string section on five tunes, a musical device that most modern pop musicians shun in favor of empty sounding synthesizers. The decision to use strings in lieu of electronics gives the CD more depth than it would otherwise have.

Tracks include, "The More I See You," “Dream a Little Dream of Me," "Frenesi," George Gershwin’s "The Way You Look Tonight," and Oscar Hammerstein’s "I’ll Take Romance." Leah included two originals, "Play That Tenor Sax for Me" and "Leah’s Lullaby," and Kenny is featured on the instrumental "Our Love is Here to Stay."

Except for the forced pose on the CD cover that almost make the Solderbloms look like Olympic figure skaters All About Love is a totally satisfying genre exercise.

You can purchase the new disc on their website.

No comments:

Post a Comment