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Leon Thomas

Leon Thomas (who changed his name to Leone in 1974) made his mark in 1969, singing "The Creator Has a Master Plan" with Pharoah Sanders and showing that even avant-garde jazz can become popular under some circumstances. A fairly conventional singer, the most unusual aspect to Thomas was that he often broke out into yodelling in the middle of a vocal, a device since utilized occasionally by James Moody. Thomas, whose early associates included Grant Green, Jimmy Forrest, and Hank Crawford, studied music for two years at Tennessee State University. He moved to New York in 1958, toured with a show sponsored by the Apollo Theater, had two largely unrecorded stints with Count Basie (1961 and 1964-1965), and performed with such jazz artists as Mary Lou Williams, Randy Weston, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and later on Oliver Nelson. After recording "The Creator Has a Master Plan" in 1969 (once under his own name, with the better-known version being on Sanders' Karma), Thomas seemed on the verge of stardom. However, his career faltered and he remained an underground figure. As a leader, Leon Thomas recorded for Flying Dutchman, Blues Time, Mega, the Italian Palcoscenico label (in 1979 with Freddie Hubbard's group); as the leader of a blues-oriented band for Portrait (1988); and for Mapleshade. He also appeared as a sideman in many situations, including on a Louis Armstrong 1970 record and with Carlos Santana (who he worked with in 1971). Thomas died of heart failure on May 8, 1999. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

That's my uncle. He's great! I only saw him perform once in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 70's. We had a wonderful time. Mary (Diane) Hasan
I had the pleasure of meeting this great vocalist in 1969. He was one of my vocal mentors..... . . . h i s voice still mesmerizes me!
Nice to re-hear this tune a generation after first learning about Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas. Very sweet; a fine voice.
Very Nice
this is a first for me! Although I'm a gill scott fan. Sweet on the yodeling style too.
johnericcd
I was NYC the August of 1998. I was at the St. Nick's located 773 Street Nicholas Ave Harlem, NY. It was a Wednesday evening. I heard this brother and her reminded me of Father Leon. At the end of his gig, I told him how he sounds so much like Leon Thomas. He thanked me and told me to go out back there you will find Leon. I went to the back and there he was. We spoke that night. Imagine that one of my favorite Jazz artist was there engaging me in conversation . He got on the mike and did
mooyoo.77
great style, great voice, one of a-kind, in this world of copy-cat" artist.
THANK YOU LEON RIP---- BIG FELLOW"
This cat's dope.

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