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Umbo Weti: A Tribute to Leon Thomas
     

Umbo Weti: A Tribute to Leon Thomas

by Babatunde Lea
 
Vocalist Leon Thomas was a close partner to saxophonist Pharoah Sanders in the late '60s and early '70s, having sung "The Creator Has a Master Plan" on 1969's Karma and "Prince of Peace" on Izipho Zam the same year. In so doing (and in his later work as a solo artist, particularly the 1973 album Blues and the Soulful Truth),

Overview

Vocalist Leon Thomas was a close partner to saxophonist Pharoah Sanders in the late '60s and early '70s, having sung "The Creator Has a Master Plan" on 1969's Karma and "Prince of Peace" on Izipho Zam the same year. In so doing (and in his later work as a solo artist, particularly the 1973 album Blues and the Soulful Truth), he blended blues, R&B, gospel, soul, jazz, and yodeling (!) into a cohesive and utterly recognizable style that meshed quite well with jazz's turn toward ecstatic spiritualism in the wake of John Coltrane's and Albert Ayler's premature deaths. He also worked with Carlos Santana and many others. On this double live disc, Bay Area drummer and percussionist Babatunde Lea, who backed Thomas in the early '70s, is joined by saxophonist Ernie Watts (of Charlie Haden's Quartet West), keyboardist/vocalist Patrice Rushen, and vocalist Dwight Trible to pay tribute to his former boss. The arrangements have the same churning, R&B-meets-jazz groove that the best of Thomas' and Sanders' work from the late '60s had, Watts' saxophone in particular attaining ecstatic heights without devolving into raucous shrieks. Rushen's piano solos demonstrate a fluidity that those only familiar with her R&B hits like "Forget Me Nots" might find surprising. Trible's vocals are Thomas-esque in the best way -- his voice is deep and rich, and even if some songs, like Coltrane's "Cousin Mary," didn't need the excessively literal and cheesy lyrics he lays down, the versions of "Prince of Peace," "The Creator Has a Master Plan," and "Let the Rain Fall on Me" are beautiful and soulful. The deep love Babatunde Lea felt, and obviously still feels, for Leon Thomas and the music they made together comes through on every note of this disc.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/08/2009
Label:
Motema Music
UPC:
0181212000252
catalogNumber:
25

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Babatunde Lea   Primary Artist,Percussion,Drums
Patrice Rushen   Piano
Ernie Watts   Tenor Saxophone
Dwight Trible   Vocals
Gary Brown   Bass
Gary Brown   Bass

Technical Credits

John Lee Hooker   Composer
Horace Silver   Composer
Lonnie Liston Smith   Composer
John Coltrane   Composer
Jon Hendricks   Composer
Pharoah Sanders   Composer
Ernie Watts   Composer
John Greenham   Engineer
Crispin Robinson   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Babatunde Lea   Composer,Producer,Author
Jana Herzen   Executive Producer
Howard Sapper   Producer

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