Aardvark Poses

SSC1070 1995-01-01

Track List

Sunyata - 5:24
Armonicos - 6:35
M-C-G - 7:13
Dear Bourg - 4:51
Simon Says - 7:13
Sketches Of Aix - 3:42
Posscia - 6:01
El Mirlo - 5:48
Naashar - 6:20
Shamed - 6:15
Belle Jeza - 2:13


Joe Martin - bass
John Wilson - drums
Michael Leonhart - trumpet
Ari Ambrose- tenor sax


A remarkably advanced debut from the then 21-year-old trumpeter. Joined by tenor saxophonist Ari Ambrose, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer John Wilson, Leonhart tends toward a spacious, enigmatic sound on this all-original outing.

The first three tracks are fairly cryptic, with Leonhart and Ambrose playing long-tone melodies over subtly implied rhythms and ambiguous harmonies or pedal points. Track four, "Dear Bourg," is the first piece with an unmistakable harmonic structure and a songlike melody. The same can be said for the ethereal ballad "Sketches of Aix," the jazz waltz "Belle Jeza" (just melody, no solos), and the slow, minor-key 6/8 shuffle "Shamed." Elsewhere, on tunes such as "Posscia" and "Naashar," Leonhart takes his quartet through freer territory. Ambrose, with his robust, post-Coltrane tenor style, is a dynamic frontline partner for Leonhart, who also sounds quite strong on his horn. Martin and Wilson throw in just the right atmospheric touches, aside from being an unassailable rhythm team.

As both a trumpeter and composer, Leonhart is the farthest thing from a neo-bop conformist. But neither is he an undisciplined maverick with no foundation or interest in the tradition.

Indeed, what makes Aardvark Poses remarkable is Leonhart's precocious ability to make music this bold and individual within a standard quartet format. ~ David R. Adler, All Music Guide