Soon after his January 2006 release "Back to the Funk" hit the charts, the soulful jazz and pop flutist was back in the studio this time traveling to New York to work with award winning producer Jason Miles and a group of some of that area’s finest players. Leighton was encouraged by the initial success of "Funk" - Critical reviews were uniformly positive and the album was nominated for "Best Jazz Album of the Year" by the San Diego Music Academy. With a series of east coast appearances upcoming in November, Leighton decided to release three new tunes as digital downloads before the completion of the "East Coast Project.
The first single, "Ode to Billy Jo," is a slick, greasy, soulful interpretation of the popular ballad written and performed by Bobbie Gentry in 1967. The original stood at number one for four weeks on the Billboard charts. "It’s a tune I heard growing up Mom always played country music radio around the house and I’ve been playing the tune live for years… it’s a favorite song of mine," says Leighton. The radio add date for the smooth jazz format will be October 30th.
In addition to "Billy Jo," two more tunes will also be released. "What You Gonna Say?" an upbeat original song penned by Miles and Leighton together and "Keep That Same Old Feeling," a beautifully crafted arrangement of the classic Wayne Henderson (Crusaders) tune. "What You Gonna Say" features the keyboard work of Jason Miles while "Keep That Same Old Feeling" features the beautiful vocal stylings of singer/songwriter/producer Katreese Barnes. " "Keep That Same Old Feeling" is another one of those tunes I’ve been playing live for years," says Leighton, "I’ve often used it to close a show… it’s a tune that really stands the test of time."
Also new for this project will be the availability of "lossless .aif" format downloads at no extra charge. Leighton made the decision because, "I think there is a growing group of people who are tired of the sonic degradation inherent in the mp3 format. Yes, the downloads are large but with broadband access becoming more and more the norm why should we have to settle for the poor audio quality of mp3? In a lossless download there is NO degradation - they will sound exactly as the original recording."
Leighton’s recordings began debuting in 2003 with Groove Yard, a beautiful collection of jazz standards. Released in 2005, Just Doin’ Our Thang is comprised of inventive arrangements of standards and four original compositions in a traditional jazz setting that finds Leighton backed by a Hammond B3 organ trio. The albums have received critical praise from such respected outlets as JazzTimes, Audiophile, All About Jazz, All Music Guide, L.A. Jazz Scene, and the San Diego Reader. Just Doin’ Our Thang was also nominated for "Best Jazz Album of the Year" in 2005 by the San Diego Music Academy.
Pacific Coast Jazz is distributed in the U.S. by Big Daddy Music. When the full ablum East Coast Project is completed in 2007, it too will be distributed by Big Daddy Music.
East Coast Project currently contains the following tracks:
"Ode to Billy Jo"
"What You Gonna Say?"
"Keep That Same Old Feeling"