Steely Dan/Mark Ronson Collaborator Michael Leonhart Releases New Music From The Debut Album By The Michael Leonhart Orchestra, The Painted Lady Suite, Out June 22nd
Album release shows confirmed for New York City’s
The Jazz Standard With Nels Cline July 17th and 18th
Michael Leonhart, the GRAMMY-winning trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, today makes available a new single “The Silent Swarm Over El Paso” taken from The Painted Lady Suite, his debut album with The Michael Leonhart Orchestra, (out June 22nd via Sunnyside Records).
The Painted Lady Suite is inspired by the butterfly of the same name. While Leonhart was initially attracted to its flamboyant coloration and wing ornamentation, it was the butterfly’s incredible migration, which spans over six generations and 9,000 miles — twice that of the Monarch butterfly, that sparked his imagination.
“‘The Silent Swarm Over El Paso’ is perhaps the most straight-up western-soundtrack type song in the whole suite, says Leonhart. “The soft strings and rolling percussion of the intro depict the vast plains of El Paso, Texas. The hypnotic groove and explosive anthem in the choruses portray the magnificence of the Painted Lady in full flight. The use of wordless vocals, vintage fuzz guitar and French horns was inspired in part by working on and off the last year on the score to Rockstar Games’ “Red Dead Redemption 2″ as well as my love of Morricone, David Axelrod and Quincy Jones.”
The journey of the Painted Lady butterfly parallels the story and development of the Michael Leonhart Orchestra and The Painted Lady Suite — a large group takes a journey utilizing the past generations’ wealth of knowledge and arrives triumphantly in a kaleidoscopic array.
In addition to the Suite, the album features three of the earliest compositions Leonhart wrote specifically for MLO. “In the Kingdom of MQ” is a swaggering march featuring an electrifying solo by Donny McCaslin and is a tribute to Leonhart’s young son. Alternating between a 12/8 burlesque groove and a ¾ church feel, the jaunty “Music Your Grandparents Would Like” is the kind of jazz and rock hybrid Zappa would have loved, including a hard left turn as Nels Cline delivers a brain-melting solo. Lastly, “The Girl From Udaipur” establishes a trance-line ostinato with wordless choir as solos by Ian Hendrickson-Smith and Jay Leonhart bring the recording to a close.
The record release shows will take place at the Jazz Standard in New York City on July 17thand 18th and will feature Nels Cline. Ticket link and more tour dates below.
About Michael Leonhart
Michael Leonhart is a Grammy-winning multi-hyphenate: trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. As a trumpeter, Michael has performed with rock legends Steely Dan since 1996, recording two albums with them, including 2000’s four-time Grammy winning Album of the Year, Two Against Nature, on which he was a featured soloist, arranger and conductor. He also appears on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ Grammy-winning 2016 Record of the Year, “Uptown Funk.” Michael has composed music for stage and screen, including a song for Meryl Streep, whose performance he directed on the Decca soundtrack album Songs of Lahore. Leonhart recently composed music for the score to Rockstar Games upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. Michael recently produced Karrin Allyson’s Grammy-nominated album, Many A New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein. Michael has performed and/or recorded with music legends Ringo Starr, Brian Eno, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, A Tribe Called Quest, Caetano Veloso, Bette Midler, Yoko Ono, Q-Tip, Raekwon (Wu-Tang Clan), Busta Rhymes, Henry Mancini, Phil Collins, Randy Newman, Steve Winwood, Bill Withers, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), John Barry, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, Todd Rundgren and Bonnie Raitt, Alicia Keys, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Sean Lennon, Lauryn Hill and Antibalas.
The Michael Leonhart Orchestra Live
July 17 & 18 – The Jazz Standard – Tickets
Michael Leonhart Online