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MUSICIAN Born:

Leon Foster Thomas

Having performed for audiences worldwide, Leon Foster Thomas is a unique force in modern jazz. The New York Amsterdam News has described his playing as “riveting, his artistry as unrivaled and his stage personality as dominant.” His virtuosic playing of the Steel Pan has enabled him to connect emotionally with the listener on every level. This World Steelband Music Festival Soloist and Duet Champion of 2002 and 2004, has worked with artists such as: Melton Mustafa, Nathan Davis, James Moody, Richard Smallwood, Hugh Masekela, Kevin Mahogany, David Dave Siegel, Nicole Henry, Abraham Laboriel, Sammy Figueroa, Len Boogsie Sharpe, Ken Professor Philmore, Ray Holman, Dolly Parton, Cyril Neville, Slinger Francisco Mighty Sparrow, 3 Canal, Etienne Charles, Winston Bailey Mighty Shadow, David Rudder, Pelham Goddard, Richard Bailey and James Polk to name a few. A native of the island of Trinidad, Foster, as he is also called, was born in the southern city of San Fernando on August 25th, 1981

Metamorphosis

Label: Ropeadope
Released: 2016
Track listing: Kai-Fusion; Midnight Refrain; Gulf Of Paria; In The Corner; Delusion Of A Dream; Unknown Memory; Dubplate Swing; Take A Bow; A Whiter Shade Of Pale; Cry Of Hope.

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

James Nadal's Best Releases of 2016

Read "James Nadal's Best Releases of 2016" reviewed by James Nadal

Having had the honor and pleasure to review over eighty records in 2016, choosing a dozen is a difficult task. There are featured blues and soul vocalists, which are maintaining the significance of these genres alive with the authentic talent and dedication required. Included are stimulating offerings from innovative fusion and experimental artists, as well as ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Akinola Sennon: Cousoumeh

Read "Akinola Sennon: Cousoumeh" reviewed by Nigel Campbell

Trinidadian steelpan player and musical director of local steelband Siparia Deltones, Akinola Sennon's Cousoumeh is a mix of effective songwriting and performance and a daring leap into a new way of hearing improvised music from the Caribbean. Ropeadope Records--an increasingly important record label in the U.S.--is home to steelpan jazz artists Leon Foster Thomas ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Leon Foster Thomas: Metamorphosis

Read "Metamorphosis" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Throughout the history of jazz, what once seemed to be oddball instruments have inexorably become part of accepted sonic landscape, while others have fallen into disuse. It's hard to believe that the vibraphone, flute, and violin were once seen as un-swinging, non-jazz instruments, while the banjo and tuba were considered essential linchpins of the jazz sound. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Leon Foster Thomas: Metamorphosis

Read "Metamorphosis" reviewed by James Nadal

Being one of the newest percussion instruments on the planet, (circa 1939) the steel pan is actually on a similar timeline with the development of modern jazz. Taking into consideration strong African influences and a hybridization process, they appear to be a natural combination. Pan Master Leon Foster Thomas has taken the instrument most associated with ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Oatmeal Jazz Combo: Instant Oats

Read "Instant Oats" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Formed at Stony Brook University in 2009, The Oatmeal Jazz Combo returns with Instant Oats, their fifth album, following Whole Wheat Oats (LGY Records, 2015). There have been some changes on the front line, and there are no vocalists featured this time. The program opens with the gentle bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Look to ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Oatmeal Jazz Combo: Whole-Wheat Oats

Read "Whole-Wheat Oats" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

The stylistic focus of The Oatmeal Jazz Combo is well-summarized by one of its song titles: “Straight-A-Head." Ever since the original members met at New York's Stony Brook University the band has shared a passion for mainstream jazz, and the chemistry they found playing together (the “oatmeal" in the group's name refers to the beige soundproofing ...

Brand New Mischief

Label: Self Produced
Released: 2012
Track listing: Soul Window; Sleepless Nights; Amour Bleu; Annecy; Baby Powder; Enchantment; Bran New Mischief.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Leon Foster Thomas: Brand New Mischief

Read "Brand New Mischief" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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 ...


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