By Scott Yanow | Published January 2018
A fixture on the New York jazz scene since the 1980s, pianist LeeAnn Ledgerwood has performed rewarding music since that time, mostly exploring modern mainstream jazz.
Renewal, her eighth recording as a leader for the Steeplechase label, teams Ledgerwood with bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart on a well-rounded program. Everyone gets to solo on the opener, a swinging rendition of Harry Warren’s “Summernite.” The pianist contributes a pair of slow ballads (“I Wish You Knew” and “Renewal”), sometimes sounding as if she is thinking aloud at the piano. Placed between those two is a rendition of “All Blues” that, after the melody statement, surprisingly switches from being a jazz waltz to a medium-tempo romp in 4/4 time. The biggest surprise, though, is a version of Hindermith’s “Adagio From 5 Pieces For Orchestra.” Ledgerwood’s classical background is displayed during the first half of the performance before she gradually turns the theme into jazz.
The remainder of the set consists of a medium-tempo exploration of Joe Henderson’s “A Shade Of Jade,” Jimmy Rowles’ moody “502 Blues,” a slow and conventional “My Foolish Heart” and a version of “Autumn Leaves”that serves as a fine closer for this pleasing triodate.
Renewal: Summernite; I Wish You Knew; All Blues; Renewal; Adagio From 5 Pieces For Orchestra; A Shade Of Jade; 502 Blues; My Foolish Heart; Autumn Leaves. (62:39)
Personnel: LeeAnn Ledgerwood, piano; Ron McClure, bass; Billy Hart, drums.