Neil Leonard – Marcel’s Window

Those around in the 1970s might recall a disco song called “The Sound of Philadelphia,” which was the theme for television series, Soul Train. Saxophonist/composer Neil Leonard calls Marcel’s Window (GASP Records, 2011) the “sound of Philly in the 21st century.”

Born in Boston, Leonard is based in Philadelphia, Pa., and draws on the talents of other Philly musicians: pianist Tom Lawton, bassist Lee Smith and drummer Craig McIver. The set is comprised of six pieces that represent the city’s culture. The title is drawn from a window cut into the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s façade to illuminate Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors.”

“Alex in the Atrium” is a playful piece that features Leonard on the alto sax. Though a modern piece, it’s done in a traditional jazz style. Bass and drums cut loose underneath the leads, and at times share the spotlight with sax or piano. McIver’s array of cymbals helps highlight varying textures of the beat. Toward the end of the song, Smith solos on bass, snapping the strings in rapid-fire succession during several phrases.


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