Arlee Leonard

Arlee Leonard

BandJazzAcoustic

Spirited and sensual vocals and verse - swinging easily from low caress to rhythmically soaring scat improvisations, accompanied by top tier ensembles playing original music, jazz, blues, latin classics, with souful covers in the mix.

Biography

ARLEE LEONARD - VOCALIST, SONGWRITER, POET, PRODUCER, WRITER

WHY IS ARLEE LEONARD’S DEBUT CD CALLED “WILD HONEY?” Because she’s unbridled, warm, dynamic, and sweet! As her CD co-producer, jazz saxophonist DON BRADEN says, “She’s all natural!” Being the daughter of acclaimed New Orleans-based blues/folk icons “DAVID & ROSELYN,” Arlee was brought up on the road and on stage. That is where she still feels most at home.

WHETHER MS. LEONARD is harmonizing with a classical harpist at TCHAIKOVSKY CONCERT HALL (MOSCOW, Oct. ‘06), scatting samba with SYMPHOJAZZ in SHOSTAKOVITCH GREAT HALL (ST. PETERSBURG, Dec. ‘05), swinging with WYNTON MARSALIS’ group in New Orleans for a TV taping, “AMBASSADORS OF SWING” (Aug. ‘06), stomping the blues in SINGAPORE (Summer ‘06), smoldering in a ballad in BANGKOK (Spring ‘06), feeling the spirit in church, or leading the band in NEW YORK and NEW ORLEANS (1996 - 2006), Arlee brings her joie de vivre and well-honed expertise to every stage. She works the room and sets the pace for 2 or 20,000 happy listeners!

"Arlee has a voice that can embrace the whole room, but she uses it with care, providing many variations of light and shade. It swoops, it soars, it teases; it is light and youthful, or deep and bluesy. Sometimes she re-invents songs, sometimes simply decorates them so that they come up like new. But always she swings, and however seductive the song may be _ or however optimistic, like Almost like Being in Love _ you're always listening to a truly authentic jazz singer."
- Brian Kent, BANGKOK POST Feature Story, 2/4/05

THIS VERSATILE SINGER BEGAN PERFORMING at age six in coffee houses in DETROIT with her parents. In 1991, her multi-racial family toured GERMANY, FRANCE, HOLLAND and SWITZERLAND, and she’s sung with them or other bands for the last twenty JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVALS in New Orleans, where her family thankfully still has a home. Ms. Leonard, raised in California, Michigan and New Orleans, studied music, theater and dance at SANTA MONICA HIGH SCHOOL and the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA CRUZ, earning a B.A. in Sociology, with honors.

ARLEE TRAVELS THE WORLD as guest vocalist and bandleader, receiving praise from critics and audiences alike for her CD and live performances. Recent engagements have been in THAILAND, RUSSIA, SINGAPORE, FRANCE, CHINA, THE PHILIPPINES, JAPAN, DUBAI, TAIWAN, SPAIN, and across the U.S. She performs when home in New York and New Orleans at renowned jazz venues including SNUG HARBOR (New Orleans), and SWEET RHYTHM, BIRDLAND, LENOX LOUNGE, BLUE NOTE, BAMCAFE (New York). Arlee has sung for the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR JAZZ EDUCATION (IAJE) conference in Toronto, the JVC JAZZ FESTIVAL, WOMEN IN MUSIC FESTIVAL, several INTERNATIONAL WOMEN IN JAZZ (IWJ) concerts, and the IMPACT FESTIVAL in New York. She was a panelist and showcase artist at the CUTTING EDGE MUSIC BUSINESS CONFERENCE in New Orleans (Aug. 2006).

ARLEE RELEASED HER SELF-PRODUCED DEBUT CD "WILD HONEY" (SolaJazz Records) in 2000 and has recorded for other producers, bandleaders, and songwriters. Her debut includes seven originals and distinctive arrangements of five classics by some of her favorite composers. She assembled some of New York’s finest for the recording, including DON BRADEN/sax, MARCUS PRINTUP/trumpet, MIRI BEN-ARI/violin, ERIC LEWIS/piano, FREDDIE BRYANT/guitar, DWAYNE BURNO/bass, DWAYNE “COOK BROADNAX/drums, and DANNY SADOWNICK/percussion.

Some of her U.S. band mates have been ART HIRAHARA, FRED SANDERS, CARLTON HOLMES, DEANNA WITKOWSKI, and LARRY SIEBERTH/piano, RON AFFIF and FREDDIE BRYANT/guitar, CALVIN JONES, PAUL BEAUDRY, EDWIN LIVINGSTON, DON VAPPIE and JAMES SINGLETON/bass, DWAYNE BROADNAX, TROY DAVIS, JAZ SAWYER, ADONIS ROSE, OLEG BUTMAN and JOHNNY VIDACOVICH/drums, WALTER BLANDING, JR., WESS ANDERSON, JR., TONY DAGRADI and REBECCA BARRY/sax, MARCUS PRINTUP and IRVIN MAYFIELD/trumpet, and DELFEAYO MARSALIS/trombone.

WITH HER 4-OCTAVE RANGE and strong command of the classic elements of jazz vocalizing, Arlee's multifaceted singing style is complimented by her joyfully engaging stage presence and graceful moves. She flows effortlessly from swing to soul, from slow caress to Afro/Latin rhythmic explosions, shifting on again to beautiful ballads and down home blues. Arlee has begun exploring spoken word following an outpouring of writing in response to Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in New Orleans. She continues to develop a project, “THE SOUL OF NEW ORLEANS,” and intends to record and publish a book. She is working on two other collections of poetry, lyrics, memoir moments and travel notes, one on love’s ups and downs, the other exploring her spiritual and life journey.

IN ADDITION TO CONCERTS, Ms. Leonard sings and hosts for corporate and private functions, churches, fundraisers, film events, and universities. Arlee has performed as an actress and dancer, recorded for radio, television and video, and is

Lyrics

NO MARDI GRAS TODAY

Written By: Arlee Leonard

Written Post-Katrina
September 29, 2005
Shanghai, China

(Spoken Word over Jazz)

No, there won’t be any Mardi Gras today
No reveries of madness
Streets thumping with the pulse of
Thousands, pressed together in chaos
Slinging plastic beads for peaks at
Sweet bosoms of life
Hurricanes in cups to go so the
Party never stops

Sleepless nights and hot days
Parades of masked faces
Passing by in dreamlike trance
Waving and reaching to the standing
Hoards who wait for a taste
Of the sweet life
“Throw me something mister!”
A lifeline to the other side
Of the madness

Midnight at the Oasis
All quiet on the western front
No one comes to disturb the
Darkening madness
As pleasure
Gives way to terror
As smiling faces melt
In frozen places of fear

There won’t be any Mardi Gras today
Air Force One passed by low in the sky
Ahh, relief is on the way some said
But no, not today
Today is made for other things
Bodies lying face down in brown water
Bloating under a southern sky
Melting away as the search for life
Surpasses respect for the dead
Not enough help to care for both sides of this coin
Tossed carelessly away

No, there won’t be any Mardi Gras today
Watch yourself
In the struggle to survive
You may have something
Someone else thinks they need
The dangerous pulse underlying all our fun
Has come out to play by day
And all bets are off

In the struggle to survive
Left barely alive
Sitting on bridges
Stranded by water
On all sides
Sun beating down
Oxygen running low
Nowhere to go
Nowhere to go

No, there won’t be any Mardi Gras today
It’s been cancelled
Stamped no one left behind need apply

Forgotten long ago
The seething masses converged
In hell
For all to see

No, there won’t be any Mardi Gras today

Copyright 2005 Arlee Leonard

SISAT'S BLUES (BLUE IS WHAT I AM)

Written By: ARLEE LEONARD/lyrics, ARLEE LEONARD & DON BRADEN/music

FROM DEBUT CD "WILD HONEY"

I got the blues so bad, don't know where to begin
I got the blues so bad, can't stand the state I'm in
Ain't got no gigs, ain't got no money, ain't got no man
All I got is me, and blue is what I am

Got me a day job, it don't even pay my bills
I go in for 40 hours, sometimes it's just time I kill
I dream of flying far away to music land
All I got is me, and blue is what I am

Now I'm not asking for much
I don't need no diamond ring
I said yeah, I'd like me some money
But it's not about material things
I've got a love right here inside me
Just trying to break through
Give me a chance to blow
And I'll sing away these blues!

I've got talent to share, sweet dreams I create
I can sing, I can swing
But that's not all it takes
If I could let my spirit soar
I know I can
All I got is me, but blue is what I am
Blue is what I am
Blue is what I am

Copyright 1998 Arlee Leonard

LOVE MAKES EVERYTHING ALRIGHT

Written By: Lyrics: Arlee Leonard, Music: David Morgan

When the troubles in my life have me feeling blue
Nothing I seem to do right
I pick myself up on a spiritual vibe
Love makes everything alright

When I hear people talking and not speaking true
When I start to get uptight
I calm myself down with the sweet breath of life
Love makes everything alright

The key is for me to know
That it's okay to shine
But it's not enough to know
It only in my mind

When problems keep me up all night
Or all I want to do is fight
That is the time to flow
And to let it go!!

When every "yes" or "no" causes me to moan
When I really want to run and hide
I look deep inside for my spirit to guide
Love makes everything everything
Love makes it alright!

Copyright 1998 Arlee Leonard

Discography

WILD HONEY (SolaJazz Productions, 2000)
Arlee Leonard
TO LISTEN VISIT: www.CDBaby.com/ArleeL or www.Myspace.com/ArleeL

GUEST APPEARANCES on jazz, R&B, singer/songwriter projects, and compilations, including:

FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Broken Records, New Orleans) Patrice Fisher & Jasmine
A TASTE OF NEW ORLEANS (Rouzan Records)
Wanda Rouzan
GUMBO YA YA ((Sound of New Orleans)
David & Roselyn
ROYAL AND TOULOUSE (Sound of New Orleans)
David & Roselyn
BAILEYS JAZZ DATE (JazzImprov.com)
Compilation ("Sista's Blues," Arlee Leonard)
JUST HATCHED (New Orleans Music Convention Association)
Compilation ("The Ride," Arlee Leonard)
KING EDWARD COOKIES (A New York City Independent Artists Cooperative)

VISIT www.MySpace.com/ArleeL to hear new recordings and full tracks from her debut CD "Wild Honey."
Purchase copies at www.CDBaby.com/ArleeL

Set List

The Arlee Leonard Group plays vibrant, soul-filled swing, latin jazz, blues, original music, and ballads, with soulful covers in the mix. Her repertoire consists of 100s of titles.

To hear some original music, visit www.MySpace.com/ArleeL

There is a new element of spoken word when the program is more focused on original music, including pieces from "The Soul of New Orleans," a post-Katrina collection of poetry and lyrics.

New Orleans programs, Holiday shows, dance/party programs, wedding songs and gospel available.

A concert, guest appearance, or party can be from 1 song to 4 hours easily. Titles available upon request.