Mighty Eye Records

Michael Leonhart Orchestra & Leonhart Brass Band 45 Bundle (3x7")

$29.99 $41.99
Ships In 3-4 Business Days

The Leonhart Brass Band was conceived during the 2020 Covid-19 quarantine when trumpeter/composer Michael Leonhart was unable to perform with his 18-piece orchestra at NYC's famous Jazz Standard. Instead, Leonhart began composing music for a raw small brass band featuring members of Antibalas, the Dap-Kings and Red Baraat, whom were all capable of playing outdoors without amplification. Building on the foundation of the classic brass bands—Dirty Dozen Brass and Rebirth Brass Band—Leonhart has infused elements of hip-hop and funk to create his own sound. 

On side A, "Snake Oil” is driven by a cymbal bell heavy drum groove and bass line with a horn melody that harkens back to the serpentine lines of both Cannonball Adderley's 1973 LP, Inside Straight, and saxophonist Eddie Harris' classic "Freedom Jazz Dance.” Leonhart takes the first solo on trumpet followed by Cochemea Gastelum on baritone saxophone. 

On the flip, “Shammgod” is a tribute to perhaps the greatest ball handler to ever play basketball, God Shammgod (a/k/a Shammgod Wells). Although his professional career was short lived—as he had played only for the Dallas Mavericks’1997-1998 season and later for the Chinese Basketball Association (Zhejiang Cyclones)—his name rings on for the creation of his legendary crossover move, “The Shammgod.” Leonhart draws frequent creative inspiration from basketball; the tight staccato strut of the horn melody has the tempo and swagger of a pickup street ball game, a sound that’s further accentuated with Stuart Bogie on the baritone saxophone.


 "Shut Him Down” was the third song written by Michael Leonhart & Elvis Costello during the 2020 quarantine. The first two, “Radio Is Everything” and "Newspaper Pane”—both of which were produced by Leonhart—appeared on Elvis’ 2020 solo album, Hey Clockface. 

Michael and Elvis first met in 2007 at the Molde Festival in Norway, where Costello and the late Allen Toussaint shared a double bill with Steely Dan, with whom Leonhart has played since ’96. The two kept in touch over the ensuing years, including joining forces in 2015 for an Elvis Costello & The Imposters/Steely Dan tour. Early on in the quarantine, Leonhart sent Costello some instrumental music in need of lyrics. Costello states “Michael sent this music to me from New York at the perfect time.” After finishing the first two songs, Leonhart asked Costello to sing over an original heavy Afrobeat song he had been recording with his Michael Leonhart Orchestra during lockdown. Costello crafted lyrics that exist at the crossroads of political commentary and existential contemplation. Leonhart then asked NY rapper, JSWISS to write a verse building off Elvis’ lyrics and the drums grooves of Nick Movshon and Homer Steinweiss. Antibalas guitarist Luke O'Malley then came on board to write and record additional guitar parts. 

Side A ends with a fiery bass clarinet solo from Chris Potter, while side B features an extended tenor sax solo from acclaimed saxophonist Joshua Redman. 

"Shut Him Down" was first released in March 2022 on The Michael Leonhart Orchestra album, The Norymn Suites (Sunnyside Records) and now becomes available as a limited edition 7” b/w instrumental through Mighty Eye Records in partnership with Fat Beats.


"Denial” and "Anger" are the first and second movements in Michael Leonhart’s, The Normyn Suite #1: (Soundtrack to the Five Stages of Grieving), which is both a requiem and celebration, inspired by the life and death of Leonhart’s 15-year-old dog, a female mini dachshund named Normyn. 

Suite #1 first appeared on the Michael Leonhart Orchestra 2022 album "The Normyn Suites" (Sunnyside Records) and was inspired by “The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle,” a model introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. “The Five Stages of Grief” is a critically acclaimed study on how humans handle loss. 

For Leonhart's suite in five parts, he expands the MLO’s live performance palette of brass, woodwinds and strings to include choir and found percussion over gritty breakbeat drums from Nick Movshon. Leonhart shares, “I wanted ‘Denial’ and ‘Anger’ to have an emotional tension and raw quality, almost a whiplash effect..." 
The Normyn Suites is an elegy; to listen is to spend time in that space of loss, reckoning, questioning, and mourning. At the same time, though, with each note, each phrase, we are propelled back into life,” reflects author Alexandra Horowitz in the stirring liner notes. 

Bundle Contains:

  • x1 copy of Snake Oil b/w Shammgod (7'' - Picture Sleeve)
  • x1 copy of Shut Him Down(feat. Elvis Costello & JSWISS) (7'' - Picture Sleeve)
  • x1 copy of Denial b/w Anger (7'' - Picture Sleeve)

Snake Oil


Shut Him Down

Shut Him Down (instrumental)



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