Primary Instrument: Vocalist
It was at an early age Alan realized the importance that music would play in his life. The Spinners, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, A Tribe Called Quest, Groove Theory and the true gems of the likes of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Ella Fitzgerald built his musical love and foundation.
As Alan started performing around his native city of Houston as a high school student, his talent couldn't be ignored winning accolades and awards in local clubs, festivals, and talent shows. He was recognized on the collegiate level as well, as he was pursued by some of the best music institutions in the country after becoming a NFAA Awardee (National Foundation for Advancement in Arts).
Alan studied at Juilliard and then at New York University as a Master candidate in Vocal Performance. It was short time after this period that he met Rick Germanson, a NYC pianist who has built a solid career as a leader and side man to many of the industries' elites. Rick quickly became Alan's primary accompanist and collaborator, each bringing their own unique musical influences to create a sound that interjects soul, funk, and blues to a solid center of jazz.
Two tracks into Alan Leatherman's Detour Ahead and the phrase sweet soul music comes to mind. But this isn't the rarified realm of Sam Cooke or Otis Redding with ballads. Rather, Leatherman resides—and comfortably so—in the role of classic torch singer - Doug Collette, All About Jazz
Mostly though, his pure, clean, honest, organic, elegant vocals are in service to the song. He doesn’t stretch out the syllables like those obnoxious cartoon-character singers on American Idol. His voice is totally devoid of melisma. In other words, he doesn’t make the word “love,” for instance, into five syllables. He sings it sweet, unadorned, declarative, deceptively simplistic. He makes these timeless lyrics mean something again. - Mike Greenblatt, The Aquarian
From the opening title track “Detour Ahead” there is an elegance and grace that Leatherman brings to the table with his smooth style. He warns with the lyric “wake up, slow down before you crash and break your heart, gullible clown.” And you believe every caution- ary word because his delivery is real and thoroughly captivating. - Jazz Inside Magazine
His vocal lines are forthright and sweet, comfortable and cozy, no flowery over-singing here. He’s a natural. - Atlas Jams
Detour Ahead thus becomes a noteworthy entry into a time-tested genre, as Leatherman breathes life into a role few have so capably assumed during the history of jazz singing. - All About Jazz
Detour Ahead has the smoky, weary soulfulness of Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours” or Nat King Cole’s “Just One of Those Things,”especially at the beginning, and Alan does justice in classic form to all the great standards he has chosen, and then at the end, especially with the last track, he bridges classic to modern sound, giving a hint of what might be to come in the next album. Fantastic performance and well-constructed album! - iTunes
Playing this album is like being in a late-night conversation with a particularly mellow-voiced confidant, the lyrics seem so addressed to the individual listener. In the relative dearth of male jazz vocalists, Alan Leatherman is a worthy addition and this disc will reward your attention and purchase. - CD Baby
For the uninitiated or ignorant, it'd be simple to stereotype Leatherman as a clichéd role-player. But an abiding sincerity permeates his performances and those of his band, so they transcend caricature. - All About Jazz