Leslie Lewis | Of Two Minds

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Of Two Minds

by Leslie Lewis

A jazz singer with an instrument that can deliver whether it's Monk, Ellington, or Jobim. She makes a statement with her own point of view. Leslie joins the Gerard Hagen Trio and L.A. jazz all-stars Gary Foster, Ron Stout, Rob Lockart and Larry Koonse.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. In Walked Bud
3:18 $0.99
2. I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
5:24 $0.99
3. Nature Boy
4:12 $0.99
4. Honeysuckle Rose
4:15 $0.99
5. 'Round Midnight
5:56 $0.99
6. Well You Needn't
4:14 $0.99
7. How Deep Is the Ocean?
4:51 $0.99
8. Hello Young Lovers
4:36 $0.99
9. But Beautiful
4:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Cadence Magazine Peter Westbrook

Leslie Lewis is a different proposition. This is also her first recording, but the background she brings to it contains some solid Jazz credentials; amoung the people she has worked with are the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, members of the Ellington Orchestra, John Bunch, Britt Woodman, Joe Wilder, Norris Turney, Harry Allen, and Patrice Rushen. This is no demo; it is a session that deserves national exposure and one that reflects Lewis’ wisdom in resisting the temptation to rush out and record prematurely. Indeed, Lewis comes across here as a mature artist. She is mature enough to collaborate here with another veteran of the L.A. Jazz scene, pianist Gerard Hagen, while still imposing her personality on the session.
According to her press kit, the choice of material was Lewis’ she takes three Monk tunes along with some strong standards. Hagen may have had something to do with the choice of musicians-along with his trio Gerard brought in Gary Foster and some other excellent players who all have a chance to shine.

Lewis herself handles the vocals with admirable aplomb, displaying firm intonation and sure-footed time. She varies her delivery with some scatting, but used the technique judiciously, 16 measures on “In Walked Bud,” 32 on “Hello Young Lovers.” Lewis finds other ways to create variety, however, stretching the vocal line on “Honeysuckle Rose,” pitting herself against individual instruments- Stout’s trumpet on “I Got IT Bad,” Foster’s alto flute on “Nature Boy.” And she has the courage to make her big finish a lovely ballad performance, with “But Beautiful,” rather than looking for a flag-waver. Again-mature thoughtful work.

I have written often that many performers find their feet by their third recordings. If her first recording is any indication, Leslie Lewis is well on her way.

I Love Leslie!
A drum roll and a strong recommendation for Leslie Lewis and her new CD, "Of Two Minds," the other mind (I'm guessing) being her music director and pianist, Gerard Hagen. The quality of the stellar players on the session----Gary Foster, Larry Koonse, Ron Stout et al---should give you some idea of the quality of Ms. Lewis' singing. Until a friend of mine sent me her new CD (her first) yesterday, I mostly knew her as a singer-pianist gigging around southern California hotels, etc., but had not really heard her work, except for a modest four track demo (which I liked). But her new CD is something else. Next month I'm contributing to a group article for a Japanese jazz magazine about the best singers to have come on the scene since 1990. Clearly already a seasoned pro, Leslie will definitely be on my list. She bears a natural slight resemblance to Carmen McRae, but mostly in the timbre of her voice. Otherwise, totally original all the way. Doesn't fall into the scat trap (too much), just far out enough, has a genial "sound," with good taste in repertoire (In Walked Bud, Well You Needn't, etc.), sings in tune, and. . . swings. And the placement of the vocals into the ensemble playing is worthy of the best of Betty Carter. Who could ask or anything more?

If convinced, curious, or just merely dubious, etc., you can check her out here.

(Without intending to do so, I guess I just wrote part of my entry for the Japanese jazz mag.)


Midwest Record Recap Reviews

LESLIE LEWIS/Of Two Minds: We learned a long time ago that there’s plenty of great jazz talent working in hotel bars across the country and even though we never heard of Lewis before, we now feel like going to the Four Season for a cocktail to see if she’s around. You can’t fault a girl for liking Monk and she certainly distinguishes herself on this set with it’s Monk overtones. A winning set for jazz vocal fans that are finding they just can’t keep listening to the same reissues forever. 3100 (Surf Cove Jazz)

Girl Singers Review

Leslie Lewis - Of Two Minds (Surf Cove Jazz)
Released - July, 2008

This Los Angeles area singer is matched with the Gerard Hagen Trio in a disc that showcases the work of Thelonius Monk on three of its nine tracks. Ms. Lewis versatility is evident in the two treatments blended into a single recording of “Nature Boy,” or the lightly swinging Rogers-Hammerstein “Hello, Young Lovers.”

Mr. Hagen has assembled a group of LA veterans to back this talented artist. My favorite tracks include the two mentioned, plus Monk’s “In Walked Bud.”

These aren’t kids, here. You’re in good hands with a great bunch of old pros.

This disc is recommended.

Run Off Groove #226 John Book

Now this is vocal jazz I enjoy listening to.
Her CDBaby pages says Leslie Lewis “A jazz singer with an instrument that can deliver whether it’s Monk, Ellington, or Jobim. She always makes a statement with her own point of view” and that is clearly obvious on Of Two Minds (Surf Cove Jazz), an album that features the Gerard Hagen Trio along with Larry Koonse, Gary Foster, Ron Stout, and Rob Lockart playing the kind of jazz you hope to be able to hear and understand on your death bed.

Lewis has the kind of spunk and classiness that comes from years of listening and singing this style of music, and if Hoda Kotb was a jazz singer, I’d imagine she would sing like this. Lewis sings with a fervor that makes you itch in all the right places, and is the ointment towards the spots that aren’t, listen to “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good” and it becomes perfectly clear that this one knows the blues because she’s probably been there, but also knows the goods because she’s been good and bad at the same time. “‘Round Midnight” and “But Beautiful” deserves massive airplay if the United States cared about their jazz origins, but it doesn’t so sadly she may be limited to NPR airplay. It makes me wish more people would be able to hear someone like her, because Leslie Lewis is just a personification of what jazz vocals is about, even when she jiggles her vocal chords in “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”. She sometimes reaches for that hapa raspiness and I wish I could’ve heard more of that, but perhaps she’ll enhance that on the next one. Kathie Lee Gifford, step off. She would be capable of doing some soul music too, maybe next time. Uh, stroke it Lewis, stroke it! Of Two Minds is the album that will make having affairs worth it. Special recognition to Foster’s flute work in “Nature Boy”, the eden ahbez classic.

Metro Spirit


Leslie Lewis
"Of Two Minds"

AUGUSTA, GA - Sometimes we find a sound that seems to speak to a moment in a perfect way, but along the way we wonder if the same tune might play in another manner in another setting. Leslie Lewis can find such expression of mystery wrapped in vocal harmony on the latest release, "Of Two Minds."

Built upon a framework of Monk compositions, this record shows an artist at work in the process of growth and experimentation. Within the silky sweet chords, we find a smooth transition between the various ranges of vocal emotion Lewis can seem to offer at a whim. As a result, listeners will find themselves asking after each track if the song could have also been produced in the emotional response of an earlier tune.

Particular highlights include the melodies transformed in “Nature Boy,” “Hello Young Lovers” and “Well You Needn’t.” Further illumination of the power of this particular vocalist can be found in the range and strength of tracks like “How Deep is the Ocean” and “Honeysuckle Rose.”

Within this composition, Lewis finds a way to transcend the moment through vocalized emotional expression.

Jazzscene, Portland OR.

George Fendel

Of Two Minds, Leslie Lewis, vocals.
The first thing one notices is that Lewis is a jazz singer. She has that tough to define “something” which separates the jazz and pop worlds; phrasing, expressing real emotion in a lyric; knowing how much liberty to take -- these, I guess, are some of the qualities I look for. And Leslie Lewis gets it. On tunes ranging from “In Walked Bud” to “Honeysuckle Rose”; from “Well, You Needn’t” to “Hello Young Lovers” and several more, you’ll like the husky voiced, Ms. Lewis. Slightly reminiscent of Carmen McRae to these ears. Add formidable LA talent like Gerard Hagen, piano, Ron Stout, trumpet, and the brilliant Gary Foster on alto sax and flute, and you’re rewarded with sterling results.
Surf Cove Jazz, 2008, 41:29.

Jazz Review.com

CD Title: Of Two Minds

Year: 2008

Record Label: Surf Cove Jazz

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Leslie Lewis - vocals, Gerard Hagen - piano, Jerry Kalaf - drums, Domenic Genova - bass, Larry Koonse - guitar, Gary Foster - alto saxophone and alto flute, Ron Stout - trumpet, Rob Lockhart - tenor saxophone

Jazz singer Leslie Lewis and the Gerard Hagen Trio come together beautifully on their latest release Of Two Minds, which feature nine cover tunes from iconic writers such as Duke Ellington, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Eden Ahbez to name a few. Lewis entices listeners to kick up their heals and shimmy their hips playfully or sink pensively into their innermost thoughts with these songs. The music is classic swing done with a style reflective of an era that catapulted the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. Whether Lewis is being flighty, reflective or metaphorical, she makes jazz music become a conduit for channeling human emotions.

Eden Ahbez’s storytelling narrative “Nature Boy” is twined into a beautifully moving piece in Lewis’ vocals, while she shimmies and dances flirtatiously through “In Walked Bud” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” Lewis’ vocal inflections touch the heart persuasively in Thelonious Monk’s timeless favorite “’Round Midnight.”

The Gerard Hagen Trio are wonderful at complementing Lewis’s graceful strokes and velvety alto textures. They do a classy rendition of Monk’s sassy swing number “Well You Needn’t” equipped with Lewis’ magnetic delivery, and then emulsify the wavy locks of Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean?” into a warm current. Their remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Hello Young Lovers” is reminiscent of Judy Garland’s gentle swing and earthy alto pitch. The final track “But Beautiful” is a torchlight melody that shows no fear of dreaming aloud, and instills that courage in its listeners.

Leslie Lewis and the Gerard Hagen Trio make for a lovely marriage in jazz circles. The band and Lewis complement each other beautifully, and instinctively know how to translate their beauty into lyrical forms. Lewis has enjoyed a productive stint as a lounge singer performing in ballrooms across the USA at such affluent hotels as the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, and Sheraton Universal. Additionally, she has sung with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. The Gerard Hagen Trio consisting of pianist Gerard Hagen, drummer Jerry Kala, and bassist Domenic Genova have been playing since 1997, and have received worldwide accolades for their two albums, 1997’s Far Horizons and 2001’s Stay Tuned. Of Two Minds is an amalgamation of swing jazz’s best attributes, and Leslie Lewis along the Gerard Hagen Trio and guest musicians guitarist Larry Koonse, brass player Ron Stout, and reed instrumentalists Gary Foster and Rob Lockhart are the right candidates to make this material radiate with the beauty of the originals.

Tracks: In Walked Bud, I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good, Nature Boy, Honeysuckle Rose, 'Round Midnight, Well You Needn't, How Deep Is The Ocean?, Hello Young Lovers, But Beautiful

Record Label Website: http://www.surfcovejazz.com

Artist's Website: http://www.gerardhagen.com

Listen or Buy: www.cdbaby.com/cd/leslielewis

Reviewed by: Susan Frances

ALL Music Guide

Review by Adam Greenberg
Usually a featured vocalist with an orchestra, a side vocalist with instrumental stars, or a dancer amongst a troupe, Leslie Lewis here presents her take on a number of classic pieces. In the choice of compositions, there's an almost even split between the straightforward, relaxed romances of the Great American Songbook (composers include Irving Berlin, Van Heusen, Rodgers & Hammerstein, etc.) and the off-kilter, exploratory pieces of Thelonious Monk. There's also a stray piece between the two extremes with Eden Ahbez's outstanding "Nature Boy." To her credit, Lewis is able to take on both ends of the spectrum. On the Monk pieces (and incidentally on Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," a favorite of Monk), she reverts to something of a Lambert, Hendricks & Ross sound, with a scat-like delivery masking a surprisingly smooth voice. "In Walked Bud," the opening track here, stands out as an excellent piece and one that won't often be done by vocalists. Her approach to the songbook pieces is a little more of a nightclub croon, bringing out a little bit of force to put behind the lyrics. Not a bad outing for Lewis, breaking the standard lounge singer aesthetic in favor of some more intimate artistry.

O's Place Jazz Newsletter

Leslie Lewis - Of Two Minds 4/4
O's Notes: Leslie is a traditional jazz singer. She bends the notes, soars and keeps the groove flowing. She gets tremendous support from her band that includes Gerald Hagen (p), Gary Foster (sax), Rob Lockart (ts), Ron Stout (t) and Jerry Kalaf (d). Leslie's renditions of "Round Midnight", "In Walked Bud" and "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good" are memorable.

Borderland UK

Leslie Lewis & Gerard Hagen Trio - Of Two Minds (Surf Cove Jazz SCJ100) The jazz songbook is deep and varied, which is relief as this new album by Leslie Lewis cherry pick some of the greatest tunes from that hallowed songbook. Ms Lewis has one of those slightly husky and deep voices, giving these songs extra resonance and bounce. The Gerard Hagen Trio (Hagen on piano, Domenic Genova on bass and Jerry Kalaf on drums) support with panache while four other guest musicians (Rob Lockheart on tenor sax, Gay Foster on alto sax and flute, Ron Stout on trumpet and Larry Koonse on guitar), take solo slots on many of the tracks. Amongst the classic tunes on this album are In Walked Bud, Nature Boy, Honeysuckle Rose, Round Midnight, Hello Young Lovers and I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good. All performed in a late night intimate style where you can savour the groove of every word and note. If you are a devotee of the grand divas of the classic era of jazz (Ella, Sarah and Dinah) then I think you will find Of Two Minds of great interest, it is a confident album that won't fail to please and deserves wider exposure.

Of Two Minds is a solid album of jazz standards sung by vocalist Leslie Lewis, Eden Ahbez's "Nature Boy,” makes Of Two Minds well worth the price of admission. RIYL: Sarah Vaughan, Jon Hendricks (3 stars)"

WMEB Radio

Leslie Lewis' voice is in the tradition of great jazz vocalists, ala Carmen McRae. On Of Two Minds her dulcet tones grace a set of tight, swinging renditions of jazz standards and some Monk covers. Very enjoyable.

Mike Stratton, WLNZ

Leslie Lewis - OF TWO MINDS --Taking on the music of Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers, and Jimmy Van Heusen is no small assignment. But Leslie Lewis and the Gerard Hagen Trio are up to the task. The album sparkles with devotion to the task at hand, and the sincerity of her voice shines on every cut.



to write a review

Kenneth L. Hayes

Of Two Minds
Love it, love it! Especially the cover of 'Round Midnight. Looking forward to hearing more from this young lady!