Born: August 8 Primary Instrument: Vocal
BIOGRAPHY OF ARLEE LEONARD Vocalist, Songwriter, Poet, Producer, Writer
Arlee Leonard has written some impressive originals, and her voice crackles with life. Deep and woody, she's sensual at the same time that she's playful...Arlee has many talents, and is not afraid to use them. - Jazz Improv
THE VERSATILE ARLEE LEONARD began performing at age six in coffee houses in Detroit with her parents, blues/folk icons DAVID & ROSELYN. In 1991, her multi-racial family toured Germany, France, Holland and Switzerland, and she’s sung with them, led her own groups, and been a guest vocalist for a variety of occasions and events around the world since. Ms. Leonard, raised in California, Michigan and New Orleans, studied and performed in music, theater and dance at Santa Monica High School and the University of California Santa Cruz, while earning a B.A. in Sociology, with honors.
MS. LEONARD can swing standards, wail blues, caress ballads, harmonize with a classical harpist, scat a samba, belt gospel, and get funky in a groove, bringing a joie de vivre and well-honed expertise to any stage she’s on. 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 is also a gifted lyricist, songwriter, and poet.
ARLEE TRAVELS THE WORLD singing, receiving praise from critics and audiences alike for her debut CD “WILD HONEY” and her dynamic live performances. Ms. Leonard has headlined in SINGAPORE, RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, SOUTH AFRICA, THAILAND, FRANCE, CHINA, THE PHILIPPINES, JAPAN, DUBAI, TAIWAN, SPAIN, CANADA, GUATEMALA, and across the USA. In 2011, Arlee traveled to Russia three times and Ukraine, performing in jazz clubs, concerts halls, and with a big band. In August she was a semi-finalist in the MetroSTAR competition in New York. She performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May with her parents’ group Mo’Lasses, and continues a standing engagement in Stamford, CT. 2010 also began with a return to Russia, and Arlee’s first appearances in Belarus and Ukraine. She performed for the Great Women In Music Festival Oct. 2010 in NYC, and had a fall tour in California. 2009 performances included the Jazz Province Festival (Russian Tour), Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival (Johannesburg, SA), Satchmo Summerfest and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans), Women in Jazz Festival 2009 (NYC), and concerts in France with MOUSSU T ET LE JOVENTS for a project honoring the writer Claude McKay entitled “ZOU, SHAKE THAT THING!” (Marseille, France). One highlight from 2008 was a headlining performance at The French Quarter Festival (New Orleans).
ARLEE’S SELF-PRODUCED debut CD WILD HONEY (SolaJazz Records, 2000) includes seven originals and distinctive arrangements of five classics. Ms. Leonard assembled some of New York’s finest for the recording, including Don Braden, Marcus Printup, Eric Lewis, Freddie Bryant, Dwayne Burno, Dwayne Broadnax, and Danny Sadownick. She has recorded for many others, including Fall '07 releases by New Orleans' trumpeter Shamarr Allen with clarinetist Dr. Michael White, and with The Campbell Brothers.
When home in New York and New Orleans, Arlee has graced the stage at renowned jazz venues including Snug Harbor, Bombay Club and Sweet Lorraine's (New Orleans), and Sweet Rhythm, Birdland, Lenox Lounge, Blue Note and BAMCafe (New York). Arlee has sung for the International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE) conference, the JVC Jazz Festival, and several International Women In Jazz (IWJ) concerts.
IN ADDITION TO CONCERTS, Ms. Leonard sings and hosts for corporate and private functions, churches, fundraisers, film events, universities and more. Arlee has performed as an actress and dancer, for live radio and television, and is a certified Music Together® teacher. For several years she was the Secretary to the Board of Directors of IWJ, and has been a member of IAJE, the Jazz Foundation of America, the Jazz Vocal Coalition, and Jazz Alliance International. Arlee is an ASCAP writer and publisher. As an artist and as a person, Arlee is always reaching for her higher ground. When she shines, you will smile!
Awards:The Dakota Award - "Jazz's Shining New Star"
To read the rest of this press profile please visit: http://www.2theadvocate.com/entertainment/17207571.html? index=1&c=y
Singer Arlee Leonard displayed a lustrous voice and impressive range during her set, her “Time Keeps Slipping into the Future” serving as a platform for her appeal to politicians to make good on promises to help displaced Orleanians (more than 200,000 of whom are still living elsewhere) get onto the road home. “We need all our people back to keep growing the next generations of Louis Armstrongs,” she said. - Sandy Ingham, ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM review of New Orleans' Satchmo Summer Fest, 8/17/07
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
********************** BANGKOK PRESS QUOTES - 2005 ********************** Arlee's performances at the Conrad Hotel's Diplomat Bar are just stunning. She is a sweet spirited individual and SHE SHINES THROUGH HER MUSIC. Her voice sings to your heart. BANGKOKJUNGLE.COM Feature, Mar 3, 2005 Read the rest and see photo at: http://www.bangkokjungle.com/news/arlee- leonard-shines-at-the-diplomat-bar/
Arlee leapt into the song with infectious brightness. And infectious is the word: THE JOY OF SINGING IS CATCHING, and she wants you to catch it. APARTMENT LIVING, Magazine Feature, March 2005
Jazz singer Arlee Leonard has been entertaining audiences all her life...She has now extended her passion to entertaining audiences here in Thailand....THE STUNNING CHANTEUSE from New York fills the Diplomat Bar with her svelte voice. SYMPHONY, Magazine Feature, March 2005
Remaining true to their mission to find the best in musical talent for their immensely successful Diplomat Bar, the Conrad has found A SINGER OF REMARKABLE WARMTH, WIT AND VERSATILITY. BIG CHILLI, Cover Interview, Feb. 2005
This month Diplomat Bar introduces us to the distinctive voice of Arlee Leonard. A unique voice in Bangkok's growing scene...Arlee has been singing from the moment words fell from her mouth...We asked if a second album is in the making 'YES, as soon as I get the chance!.' METRO: MAGAZINE, Feature, Feb 2005
The Conrad's Diplomat Bar [has] entertained us with some memorable divas, and the latest singer to SEDUCE GUESTS WITH HER SENSUAL SOUND, Arlee Leonard, is certainly no exception. Yet with her personable charm and relaxed manner, this NYC resident IS NOTHING LIKE A PRIMA DONNA. BANGKOK DINING & ENTERTAINMENT, Feature, Feb 2005
*********************** PRESS REVIEWS OF CD: ***********************
Right off the bat, the disc has three things going for it. The charts are lush and varied, Arlee Leonard has written some IMPRESSIVE ORIGINALS, and HER VOICE CRACKLES WITH LIFE. At its heart, the band is a feisty piano trio; guitars and percussion slink in as needed.... Reminds me of Laura Nyro in the tempo shifts and the vocal leaps.... It's lightning-fast and your hear every word - that is something.... So is Marcus Printup, blaring that old-fashioned brass. Producer Don Braden gets his on Sista's Blues, a ferocious old honk that spars well with Printup. They wail, she moans - and you're feeling pretty good....EMOTIONS REIGN SUPREME, as they do through this album.... DEEP AND WOODY, SHE'S SENSUAL AT THE SAME TIME THAT SHE'S PLAYFUL.... Arlee has many talents, and is not afraid to use them. - John Barrett, Jr., JAZZ IMPROV
Vocally, Leonard is equally ambitious, giving each song her full energy. WHILE SHE LURES ONE WITH HER SULTRINESS, SHE HAS THE POWER TO SURPRISE. On her and Braden's Rose's Song, the vocalist reaches up in octaves and down in her soul for an impassioned soft scream.... Leonard is skillful with jazz standards as well, bringing A LOT OF HEART AND ENTHUSIASM to tunes...on Duke Ellington's I'm Beginning to See the Light, sung in a dreamily slow style with Leonard modulating one- syllable words into three or four, the song's well-known personality changes dramatically.... Turrentine's classic Sugar is a fine vehicle for Leonard to display her scatting skills as the album closes. HER EXTENSIVE VOCAL RANGE PUTS SOME REAL PUNCH IN HER SCAT.... Arlee Leonard was obviously ready for her debut with Wild Honey, an album that SHOWS HER TO BE A SOPHISTICATED VOCALIST IN POSSESSION OF EQUAL PARTS SKILL AND PASSION. - Geraldine Wyckoff, GAMBIT WEEKLY
If Arlee Leonard was an alto saxophonist instead of a singer, she would inspire comparisons to Cannonball Adderley or Lou Donaldson instead of Paul Desmond...the term hard-swinging certainly describes WILD HONEY, Leonard's debut album. EMOTIONALLY, LEONARD DOESN'T HOLD BACK ON THIS CD....and she shows herself to be A TALENTED COMPOSER on gritty originals like Sista's Blues (Blue is What I Am) and Tokens of Appreciation. - Alex Henderson, ALL MUSIC GUIDE
New York, NY
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