Neil Leonard: Marcel’s Window (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger

Neil Leonard: Marcel’s WindowLeonard is a jazz sax player out of Philly, bragging a list of associated acts and commissions that numbers in the many dozens, including Boston Ballet and the BBC. He can afford to be generous to a fault with his quintet: after some dinner-patter formalities are out of the way (‘Uritorco’), the overriding standout slot here is the piano of Tom Lawton, who seems to fire wild darts at all 88 keys hitting the mark every time within these modal schematics, all of them written by Leonard with a mathematician’s eye for structure. Tempos and time-signatures drop down and out without warning, art imitating life, sometimes Mingus-like, sometimes (OK, rarely) boppy, and in the main, the spotlights remain on Markowitz and Leonard equally. Leonard’s work here ranges from skronky burn (‘Alex in the Atrium’) to genius-level gimmickry (French-café-accordion emulation on ‘Resounding Arc’).

Grade: A

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