Photograph by Darci Fontenot
Jazz band LP and the Vinyl recently dropped their debut album Heard and Seen.
“We were strongly encouraged to come up with a band name,” says singer Leonard Patton, discussing the new cooperative group he formed with Danny Green, Justin Grinnell and Julien Cantelm, who dropped their debut album Heard and Seen on April 25.
The suggestion about a group name came from Marian Liebowitz, who does artist management and books a lot of tours for the band. “We used to go by the Leonard Patton/Danny Green Quartet, but that’s too long, and I think Justin suggested LP, which are my initials, and the Vinyl is kind of a play on words.”
But Patton believes that the whole vinyl resurgence lends a certain agency to the LP and the Vinyl project. “Even the word vinyl is so precious. When someone mentions that they own a recording on vinyl there is a kind of cool mystique, and you hear words like ‘warmth’ being used to describe the music.”
The band had originally planned on doing their release on April 25, but the Covid-19 panic took that idea off the table. Instead they did a “virtual” CD-release show on Zoom, with Vince Outlaw from Jazz 88 emceeing and a bunch of special guests sitting in from various locations.
How did that go?
“It went pretty well, we got to talk about what’s on the album and do some playing. We were supposed to have a gig up in L.A. at the Blue Whale, and we had a big gig scheduled in Arizona around the same time. But we just had to make the most of it.”
The new album features a few originals, a few jazz standards, but most of the disc is drastically reimagined pop covers by folks like David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Oasis, and Tears For Fears — “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, naturally. What criteria does the band use when selecting this material?
“We don’t force anything. If we don’t like a tune, we’re not going to play it. But even though you might recognize the tunes, we are doing them in our own way. We all have a lot of stuff we grew up with that we like, and the people seem to really like it.”
The new album is out on OA2 Records. That’s an increasingly rare proposition these days, having support from an outside label.
“We could have gone either way with this, we could have put it out ourselves, because you can be totally independent, but in the end, we decided to see what doing the project on a label that can give you airplay might bring in terms of opportunities. So far it’s working out for us.”