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Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet

November 19, 2016
8:00 PM


Leonisa Ardizzone is a juggler. Not a juggler of colorful balls or bowling pins, but of her interests, ideals and avocations. One by one, throughout her life she has added to her juggler’s props… teaching, dancing, singing, writing, working for peace and justice, parenting… On occasion Leonisa’s passions for music and live performance have been overshadowed by her roles as an educator and mother, but never for long. Music and entertaining is the thing that feeds her soul. And as a skilled juggler, she knows when to put a thing down to add another. Enter Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet.

By day Leonisa works as a science educator and prepares for ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Her evenings are shared with her ever-engaging daughter Rafaella. But in-between and whenever she can, she makes music. The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet features Leonisa on vocals, Jess Jurkovic on piano, Justin Hines on drums, and Bob Sabin on bass.

Critics praise the group, saying the group “…is flexible and can turn on a dime… everyone is obviously having a good time with the music” (George Harris, All About Jazz, LA), and sounds “at home with each other so it’s easy to feel at home with them” (Rob Lester). Leonisa is a “multi-faceted vocalist” with “a lovely textured voice” (John Gilbert, ejazz news), who “aces any musical twists and turns” (Rob Lester). She is a vocalist “who swings, articulates and phrases wonderfully from the first notes… to the last…” (Jersey Jazz). Her “vocalese, scat singing and original lyrics fit comfortably in the pocket.” (Jim Santella, Cadence).

While reviewers may praise her, Leonisa does not consider herself a singer with a backing band but rather a member of the group. The band is a cohesive and creative unit and she is another instrument interpreting the repertoire. Because of this collaborative mindset, the interplay between the musicians is stellar; they complement and enhance one another. They share the spotlight and push the creative envelope.

Following-up on a critically acclaimed debut CD Afraid of the Heights (ardijenn music, 2007), Leonisa released the scent of bitter almonds… in 2008, which reflects a personally tumultuous year for Leonisa. The song choices, arrangements and overall feel of the music reveal heartbreak, uncertainty, loss, passion and rediscovery. The album tells of many kinds of love and conveys the roller coaster of emotion that deep love can evoke.

“Engaging and endearing” –Doug Boynton, Girlsingers.com

“A vocalist with deep chops” –Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“An adventurous spirit” –Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz

“A seasoned performer” –John Gilbert, Ejazznews

“Soft and sultry… warm and inviting” –Ray Hoffman, Jazz Improv NY

“Subtle yet effective” –John Book, Book’s List

“A multi-faced vocalist” –Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

“Ardizzone reaches a sensual critical mass on ‘The Scent of Bitter Almonds’” –C. Michael Baily, All About Jazz

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