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Dana Leong

Jazzed Magazine • January 2008What's on Your Playlist? • January 9, 2008

Dana Leong

Dana Leong is an accomplished young performer, composer, and producer who has been gaining recognition for his distinctive fusion of jazz, hip-hop, classical, rock, and sonic soundscapes.

At the age of 27, Leong has already collaborated with the likes of Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Charles, Diddy, Norah Jones, Dafnis Prieto, Talib Kweli, Wynton Marsalis, and Christian McBride, among many other notables. Late 2007 saw the release of Anthems of Life, the follow-up to the Dana Leong Quintet’s acclaimed first album, Leaving New York (Tateo Sound).

The Dana Leong Band was recently selected to represent American music as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Rhythm Roads” program.

1 Ocean’s Eleven Soundtrack

“I chose this album really only for the last tune where the Philadelphia Orchestra plays Debussy’s #149;Clar de Lune.’ The way this track closes out an epic movie is breathtaking.”

2 Köln Concert Keith Jarrett

“As someone who relies greatly on improvisation as a mode of expression, this very special solo improvised concert goes down not only as a creative landmark in music, but also as an emotional bookmark which has always been the musical ending to many natural chapters of my life.”

3 Tokyo 96 Keith Jarrett Trio

“In my opinion, this recording represents the pinnacle of Jarrett’s Standard Trio. I’ve followed many of their records, always live, always incredibly executed, but this one in particular hits home for sure with its fluidity and strong sense of presentation and arrangement.”

4 College Dropout Kanye West

“Being a beat-maker/producer and lover of big bouncing production, as well as metaphoric MCing, I feel that this one raises the bar in hip hop/pop.”

5 Fallen Evanescence

“This album takes the cake for dramatic contrasts within songwriting. I love the way they can take a tiny, dark melody with just piano and voice and blow it up into a blockbuster symphonic tragedy. I unfortunately had not known the name of this band until Amy Lee’s [vocalist for Evanescence] manager called me to play on #149;Saturday Night Live’ with them. “

6 The Black Album Jay Z

“What more can I say? An all-star production album, headed by the prote;ge; of the #149;Best Rapper in history (Notorious B.I.G.) ‘? Bringing back the hard rock sounds a la Rick Rubin, with the unmistakable voice of raps CEO? This one still gets play in my deck.”

7 Legend of Bigfoot The Last Emperor

“An unreleased obscure bootleg that is nothing less than an incredible piece of rhyme history. Without consultation, many people whom I have played this for have compared Emperor’s up-tempo rhyme deliveries and constant metaphorical weight to that of John Coltrane’s #149;sheets of sound’ approach. Try to find a copy for yourself.”

8 Traveling Without Moving Jamiroquai

“Time to dance!”

9 We and the Sea: After Tamba 4

“This album marked many landmarks for me: first as a recharge for my love for acoustic jazzy music; second, it marked the time to actually buy an album (after I heard it on Web radio). The way this trio paints pictures about Mother Nature and the ocean without being too literal will carry your imagination away.”

10 Definitive Collection Stevie Wonder

“I’ve been a follower of Stevie for years. Who could possibly be a more important songwriter of our time? He creates groovy, soulful, melodious and memorable works of art, time and time again. This particular compilation captures many of those jewels.”

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