This is the absolute best thing I’ve ever seen/heard with “Stayin’
Alive” & those two spectacular dancers. Bravo for such a wonderful thing to do. Without question, fantastic!!! Thank you from a most appreciative composer who generally doesn’t like anything. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
Mr. Leonard—described by critic Will Friedwald as “a beloved staple of the jazz and cabaret scenes”—is the composer of “I’m All Smiles,” “Why Did I Choose You” and “Not Exactly Paris,” among other standard songs. His arrangement of Luiz Eca’s “The Dolphin” is the highlight of the 1969 album From Left to Right, in which he collaborated with pianist Bill Evans. Here is what I wrote about that Evans track in a Down Beat magazine review.
Evans’ solo on “The Dolphin” is one of his finest, on a par with his best work in the Portraits and Explorations albums with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Leonard’s orchestration in the “After” version complements perfectly what Evans and the rhythm section had improvised in the “Before.” The lily is enhanced by the gilding as Leonard harmonizes Evans’ solo for flutes and piccolo, with the improvised piano line in the lead. It is a moment of absolute beauty.
For further appreciation of Mickey Leonard, see this 2011 Will Friedwald article in the online Wall Street Journal.