Wycliffe Gordon’s rich deep timbre opens This Rhythm On My Mind with some fine scatting. Wycliffe pulled out all the stops with his opening number on the CD This Rhythm On My Mind. He takes the vocal lead and adds the deep bellow of his tuba. Jay Leonhart accompanies him on bass. The duo receive twin billing for this album.
Gordon’s original composition "I Want My Blooz Back" is reminiscent of Satchmo sans the trumpet. Gordon’s fine muted trombone playing would have made Edward "Kid" Ory proud. Leonhart’s plodding bass serves as the sole accompaniment for Gordon as he graces us with his Bourbon Street vocals. It is worth listening to "I Want My Blooz Back" just to hear Gordon sing.
The two musicians have fun with "Mr. Leonhart Mr. Gordon" as they participate in a musical dialogue.
The drone of a didjeridoo greets us by the midpoint of the seventh track "Eddie Harris." The Australian aboriginal instrument played by Gordon provides a counterpoint to his own trombone playing. Leonhart’s pizzicato bass playing accompanies Gordon. Wayne Escoffrey also appears on tenor sax. Eddie Harris and Leonhart co-wrote "Eddie Harris."
The tune that really caught my ear is Lester Young’s "Lester Leaps In." The charts present an array of colors with Harry Allen’s singing tenor sax, Gordon’s trombone, some excellent vocalese and some scatting.
The CD concludes with Gordon coaxing several voices from his trombone during the Leonhart authored "Home For Supper."
Throughout this album, Leonhart who was mentored by another pizzicato bass player, Ray Brown, displays his splendid vocals as well as skills as a bass player.
As one might expect from a CD that makes liberal use of drones, a tuba, a trombone and deep vocals, most of the thirteen tracks from This Rhythm On My Mind spend their time in the lower octaves.
Wycliffe Gordon penned four of the songs for This Rhythm On My Mind and Leonhart solo authored six tunes. There is also a nod to the "Duke" with Ellington’s "Mood Indigo."