Jeff MacLeod - Double Entendre – Album Review

SoccerMom Records

By Elena Maystruk

The recent output by Jason Plumb’s SoccerMom Records is a five-artist showcase of Pumb’s colleagues and musicians. Among them is a piano guru by the name of Jeff McLeod, who’s key-savvy fingers spin the listener around and around inside a smoky, slow-motion cyclone of classical music and jazz.

For the past four years McLeod has attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester in New York State, soon to graduate with a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree. Double Entendre, his album produced by SoccerMom, is at the very least an exploration of classical music and jazz, two subjects in which McLeod is a true entrepreneur.

McLeod lets his hands and keyboards do the singing, the album is purely instrumental. The resulting affect is a subtle, spicy blend of sad melodies and quick strokes. Double Entendre focuses on contrasts in pace, alternating lamenting melodies with jazzier pieces augmented by Canadian saxophonist Mike Murley.

Each track has the remarkable ability to mimic its title as though those were the words going through McLeods head when he composed his works. Track two is light with a hint of sadness and longing, in short it sounds like a beautiful woman; thus aptly named “Luiza”. “Back Atya”, eight track, is a whirlwind of loudly purring drum beats and dizzying keyboard work on McLeod’s side. It’s pushy, claustrophobic and intimidating in a way only a complicated jazz composition can be.

This artist infuses a lot of intensity into feather-light keyboarding and creates not only emotion but also an almost physical reaction in keen listeners. In short, McLeod has mastered the ability to shout quietly.