Trent Gardner

"Leonardo - The Absolut Man"

released in 2001



Aria For Italy
With Father
Reins Of Tuscan
Mona Lisa
Il Divino
First Commission
Mother Of God
This Tiime, This Way
Shaping The Invisible
Introduction To Francois I
Heart Of France
End Of A World


Leonardo da Vinci - James LaBrie
Ser Piero da Vinci - Davey Pattison
Caterina - Michelle Young
Lorenzo de' Medici - Josh Pincus
Mona Lisa - Lisa Bouchelle
Melzi - Mike Baker
Verrochio - Trent Gardner
Salai - Robert Berry
Calco - Steve Walsh
Sforza - Chris Shryack
Francois 1 - Bret Douglas


Leonardo - The Absolute Man is a reasoned, selective re-telling of the life of a great man, Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man. Leonardo sounds like no other progressive rock construct you have ever heard. It is a mix of cinematic progressive rock, symphonic rock, progressive pop and progressive metal, graced and articulated by true classical music and the theatrical scope of state-of -the-art soundtrack or dramatic stage music. "There's something like 21 performers on this," note Gardner. "The main character, Leonardo, is covered by Dream Theater's James LaBrie. James has pulled off, in my opinion, the vocal performance of his life. James has not only operatic training, he's got some theatrical study as well. Bringing him into this is probably the single best decision we made in the process. He has really outdone himself. To tell you the truth, I gave him some challenging stuff to do. He's covering two areas, the real dramatic, piano, vocal-based themes, to the hard, heavy-edged stuff; he's doing solo stuff, duets... the range throughout the album - over an hour - is really nice. I also liked the interaction between James and the other characters. Instead of one singer singing a song you have different people coming in and out within one song. And the accumulation of all this vocal activity creates a lot of excitement. Steve Walsh from Kansas also plays a fantastic role. I recently worked with him on his solo record and we've developed not only a friendship but a musical connection that we want to continue to explore..... A spiritual highlight on the album is 'First Commission', featuring Steve Walsh and Michelle Young. It is a little slice of heaven, a sublime, ideal vocal duet set to sparse acoustic guitar and resplendent melodic detailing. It is also a testimony to the diversity on this record, from classical bombast to what Trent calls "full-on crunch guitars." Without a doubt, this track could be a smash single that opens the door to this Leonardo phenomenon entering the realm of live theater where it belongs. "To me 'First Commission' sounds reminiscent ofsomething like 'Dust In The Wind'," notes Trent. "It's kind of got that 12-string thing going on. And him! His duet with Michelle is just so emotional. That's what he brought tothe forefront of this project, his ability to be afront man. He's one of my favorite singers of all time. He just seems to be getting betterall the time (laughs)."

Steve: "One of the best things to happen to me in recent years was the acquaintance I made with Pete Morticelli of Magna Carta Records and Trent Gardner who has written some very innovative music and worked with many of the people I will always wish I could work with. Without them I would have never been able to complete "Glossolalia". And so it was with some surprise that Trent ask me to work with him again on a project, after the somewhat disappointing sales I posted on my solo effort. It proved to me that both he and Pete were interested in musical integrity beyond mere sales-and that is a very refreshing outlook to have in todays market. I recorded the vocals to the songs I did for Trent about 6 months ago, and as usual he was never demanding, and let me do it just the way I wanted to. He has written on this cd some moving music with many fine performers vocalizing his thoughts and ideas. I am proud to be one of them."