Slow is Leonhart's third Sunnyside CD and it follows Aardvark Poses released in 1995 and the 1997 imaginary film soundtrack, Glub Glub, Vol. 11. Slow was recorded after Leonhart's and Herrington's stints as sidemen with the Grammy award-winning pop/rock group, Steely Dan in 1996 and 2000 (they are also on the group's latest recording, Two Against Nature).
"I love the idea of not having to play loud on the trumpet," Leonhart says. On Slow, Leonhart takes that spacial concept one step further: Leonhart and guitarist Jon Herrington are the only musicians on the entire CD. With occasional vocals and percussion, this dynamic duo delivers ambient and textured takes on a number of jazz tunes and popular standards from Black Sabbath to Miles Davis.
The idea for this album finally clicked late one night on a tour bus driving along a highway somewhere in North America. Sharing the bus with six other band mates, I decided to retreat to the back lounge with my acoustic guitar for a little quiet time. A little while later Jon Herington popped his head through the door, picked up the guitar now lying on the seat next to me as I sat watching the open road go by, and began to play some old jazz ballads. Performing five nights a week with him as part of Steely Dan's 2000 U.S. tour, I had grown quite accustomed to hearing his ferocious guitar solos night after night, but I had yet to hear this softer, romantic side. It was then and there that I began putting together the final pieces for a duo album I had begun thinking about a few years back. After having recorded "Aardvark Poses" and "Glub Glub vol. 11", the former a pianoless quartet of jazz originals, the latter a film-ish collage of short pieces with large ensembles, I was eager to switch gears and record an intimate collection of some of my favorite songs. So in the fall and winter of 2000, Jon and I began feeling our way around the songs I had chosen. Looking to add some depth and variety to the traditional duo setting, it became clear we would record some of the songs live in the studio, while other songs we would subtly embellish with additional guitars and voices. After all, putting Ellington next to Black Sabbath, Monk next to Mancini, we needed to stray a little from any formulas. The result is "Slow". Enjoy. Michael Leonhart, June 2002
released October 1, 2002
Michael Leonhart - trumpet, voice, guitar, bul bul
Jon Herington - acoustic & electric guitars, dobro