Dazzling duo jazzes it up in unexpected concert hour performance

Leonard Patton performing Mar 13 at Palomar College's Concert Hour. Photo courtesy Rachel Kolb

Leonard Patton performing Mar 13 at Palomar College’s Concert Hour. Photo courtesy Rachel Kolb

On March 13, Concert Hour received a pleasant, but unexpected surprise when an hour of Opera turned into an hour of Jazz.

Spectators expected to see Palomar College alumnus Danielle Perrault sing opera in front of a packed house in Palomar’s D-10, instead heard the musical Jazz stylings of Leonard Patton and pianist Michael Leroy Peed.

Perrault had to cancel her performance because she came down with a case of Laryngitis two days before her performance.

Publicity assistant Rachael Kolb said that when Perrault contacted her to let her know that she couldn’t perform, the first person she thought of was Patton.

“I’ve been Leonard’s fan on Facebook since 2008, since the first time I saw him sing at Dizzy’s in San Diego,” Kolb said.

Mr. Patton didn’t disappoint by offering spectators a collection of classics and Jazz standards that suit his rich, smoky voice and unique style.

For his first song, Patton did a rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic ”Love’s in Need of Love Today.”

Before each song, Patton gave the audience some background on each selection and said Wonder was a big influence on him growing up.

Patton followed up with a collection of Jazz standards, one of which he wrote himself titled “Leonard’s Song.”

He said that he started singing jazz in 1991, when he was studying music at San Diego Mesa College. It was around that time the school’s musical director, James Romeo invited him to sing jazz in the school’s big band.

Patton said that he didn’t grow up singing jazz, but had to learn how to sing it.

“Jazz has a language to it… It’s a matter of understanding the language. Not singing well, but grasping the improv side,” Patton said.

During the performance, Patton also played the Cajon, which is a drum that a performer can sit on while singing. He played it during most the Jazz songs.

Along with Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, gospel, and Jazz, Patton admits that he’s also a big fan of 80’s pop. For his last song, he did his own interpretation of the Tears for Fears classic “Everybody wants to Rule the World”.

When asked if she was worried if the audience would take to Patton, because they were expecting Opera, Kolb said she wasn’t worried at all.

“Leonard is so good and people love him… he makes it look so easy,” Kolb said.

Prior to playing Palomar, Patton and Peed played for the first time together just a week before at Northern Sprits in San Marcos on March 7.

Peed said that the San Diego musicians are a close knit community and pretty much everybody works together at some point. If two people want to work together they pretty much contact each other on Facebook.

Peed began playing piano when he was 4-years-old and he previously worked at Caesar’s Palace.

The two men said that they plan to work together more in the future, including another performance at Northen Spirits.



Author: Steve Kirch

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