Diamonds and Emeralds
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Lenny started studying classical piano at the age of six. Like most kids, Lenny hated daily practicing, especially when he could hear his friends play ball outside. Sometimes, after school, Lenny would mess up the piano strings' dampers so that the piano would ring nonstop and be impossible to play. When Lenny's dad came home and fixed everything back and then asked Lenny what happened, Lenny would deny any knowledge, of course. During seven years of classical music education in the then Soviet Union, studying music of such great composers like Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Lenny also loved to listen to legends of rock - Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc. His music favorites also included Ennio Morriconi, Henri Mancini, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Marya and Space, among many others. Listening to these greats developed in Lenny a love and understanding of the importance of a melody in a tune. In 1979, Lenny immigrated with his family to the U.S., settling in New York where he started learning about jazz. While performing in various clubs in NY, Lenny took private lessons from a seasoned jazz studio musician, John Weiss, who also happened to have a Russian classical piano background. One of the best lessons in jazz for a price of a ticket that Lenny remembers getting was watching Oscar Peterson perform with his band at the Blue Note. Sitting 6 feet away from Peterson, gave Lenny an exceptional view of the master's hands at work. In addition to Peterson, Lenny's favorite jazz artists are Bill Evans, Michel Petrucciani, Joe Sample, Pat Metheny, and Ivan Lins. In 1982 Lenny started composing his own music. Working with many different musicians gave Lenny great experience in understanding of composition, arrangement, phrasing, and styles. Influenced by his classical education, classic rock, European pop music, jazz and new age, Lenny developed his own unique style of writing. In 1991, Lenny relocated to Hawaii, where he produced his first pop album, Only For You, which was also released in Japan in 1994. Lenny said this project was like emptying a glass. All of his musical ideas that piled up over the years came pouring out. After several years on the islands and taking in the island music culture, Lenny began working on a new album. Hawaii's precious beauty was the perfect setting for composing his second release, Summer of My Dreams, in 2003. Songs in the styles of reggae and pop ballad are about island beauty, love and friendship. Incidentally, inspiration for most of the songs came to Lenny while he was relaxing at the beach. In April 2009, Lenny released his first jazz album, Diamonds and Emeralds. The tunes on the album are a blend of contemporary jazz, funk and soul, with a touch of fusion and distinct sweet melodies. Clever blend of modern technology and acoustic instruments, gave this album an unmistakable smooth jazz sound. The only remake on the album is Night and Day by Cole Porter, which Lenny always wanted to record. A simple arrangement with only Lenny's vocals, Rhodes electric piano and harmonica gave this tune a lot of warmth and intimacy. Lenny recorded this album with some of the island's best musicians: David Choy on sax, Dean Taba on bass, Rocky Holmes on flute, Anita Hall on vocals, and Grammy winner, Jeff Peterson, on guitar. Having composed in different styles, Lenny has always stayed true to one thing that he believes every song should have - a beautiful melody.