7

Leon Foster Thomas: Brand New Mischief

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Leon Foster Thomas: Brand New Mischief The sound of steel pans seems to surface at beaches and poolside bars more often than jazz clubs, but that doesn't mean that these sunny-sounding metal melody makers aren't welcome or cut out for the jazz life. Steel pan trailblazers, like Jaco Pastorius-associated Othello Molineaux and jazz-meets-world music giant Andy Narell, established a place for their instrument in the jazz world a long time ago and paved the way for new and emerging pan players from future generations to join the game. Enter Leon Foster Thomas.

Thomas, a native of Trinidad now based in Florida, is poised to become the next big thing on his instrument. He's already established himself as a regional talent, winning numerous awards and dazzling crowds during live performances, but he's relatively unknown elsewhere. Thankfully, Brand New Mischief may help to rectify that unfortunate issue.

This all-original, seven-song program gives Thomas a chance to shine as a composer and performer. The album-opening "Soul Window" starts in a ruminative state, eventually reaching a joyous plateau, but the turf changes quickly with the sinister funk of "Sleepless Nights." Drummer Ludwig Alfonso turns up the heat as this song develops, delivering some high energy, crash-and-bash beats. "Amour Bleu" begins in a state of serenity but travels across a dynamic arc that takes it to new places, while "Annecy" stays put in a state of soul balladry. Thomas' penchant for lyricism comes through on this one, which sounds like it could be a long lost Stevie Wonder number.

While Thomas establishes his playing credentials early on in the album, he ups the ante on the Brazilian-tinged "Baby Powder," which proves to be a breezy and buoyant ride, and the tropically-infused "Enchantment," which cooks at high heat and features some smoking steel pan soloing. The album-closing title track is built around bassist Kurt Hengstebeck's funky lines and gives all four members of the band an opportunity to step out into the spotlight. While Thomas and pianist Allen C. Paul have plenty of space elsewhere, Hengstebeck and Alfonso don't and they both rise to the occasion here.

Brand New Mischief may help to broaden Leon Foster Thomas' audience, and he certainly deserves to be heard, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, it serves as a document of a steel pan star in the making.

Track Listing: Soul Window; Sleepless Nights; Amour Bleu; Annecy; Baby Powder; Enchantment; Bran New Mischief.

Personnel: Leon Foster Thomas: steel pan; Allen C. Paul: piano; Kurt Hengstebeck: bass; Ludwig Alfonso: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Jungle: Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Jungle: Live At Okuden
by John Sharpe
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!