28 July 2007


Leon Thomas for Flying Dutchman from 1970.
One of my favourite Leon Thomas lps primarily for the epic side long "The Journey" and the 11 minute percussion heavy "Um Um Um "which features a bass line reminiscent of Silver's "Senor Blues".Thom Jurek gets it right when he asks "Why wasn't this guy huge?".A truly amazing album of spiritual jazz.Highly recommended.

On the follow-up to the mind-blowing Spirits Known and Unknown, singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and composer Leon Thomas decided to take a different track. Far from the sparely orchestrated ensembles of the previous works, Thomas loaded this set with jazz luminaries such as Roy Haynes and Billy Cobham, Billy Harper, Donald Smith, James Spaulding, Sonny Morgan, Ernie Royal, and many others as well as a backing chorus of female voices. Side one is the up-tempo jazz ride, as Thomas and company rip through a host of his own tunes, such as the scatted post-bop of "I Am" and the nearly bar-walking blues of "Come Along." But the side is graced by an absolutely stunning read of Milt Jackson's "Bag's Groove," with Harper leading a five-horn section. The real gem on the album is "Pharaoh's Tune (The Journey)," which comprises all of side two. After setting up a live audience with a narrative laced with sound effects from the vanguard jazzers, the tune develops its groove about four minutes in and the bells and yodel come out, and from here it's Thomas at his improvisational best as both a singer and a bandleader. Everybody here is inspired, especially the two drummers. Harper, Spaulding, and Smith weave snake-charming lines around one another, and the entire thing just lifts off and never returns. It's a breathtaking ride made all the more so by the long, jazzed-out setup of side one. Why this guy wasn't huge is a mystery. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Billy Harper Sax (Tenor) Arthur Sterling Piano Howard Johnson Sax (Baritone) Billy Cobham Drums Bob Cunningham Bass Leon Thomas Flute, Percussion, Main Performer, Vocals Richard Landrum Percussion James Spaulding Flute John Williams Guitar (Bass) Oliver Nelson Arranger, Conductor Gene Golden Percussion Ernie Royal Trumpet Donald Smith Flute Roy Haynes Drums Sonny Morgan Percussion Jerome Richardson Sax (Alto)

Ripped @320 from the original vinyl-no cd issues.


dell said...

yes sir!

latadezinc said...

tx move to filemirror or sharebee man!

david_grundy said...

nice one!

JazzMan! said...


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Sergio said...

Thank you!! Beautiful album indeed...

steve.d said...

always a joy to hear the beautiful tone of leon thomas'vocals,but this post also gives me the chance
to praise the superb billy harper,
ignored by the american labels at the height of his career,his lps
from the 70's recorded in europe and japan,are spiritual jazz par
excellence! a truly great tenor saxophonist of our times.

makuma said...

Bacoso, I've been following jazzman's blog for a few months and think they're doing an amazing job translating so much culture into portuguese.. The movies are also deeply interesting and their cover on the brazilian jazz festival Rio das Ostras has shown some fresh new talents coming from that land.

As for you.. King of the bloggers, thanks so much. You, pharao and swami-hermitus changed the way I listen to music :)

xmnr0x23 said...

I love "come along". Gives me that extra bit of energy after a hard day's work. Thanks Bacoso!

thegreentones said...

Wow Leon blows my mind! Thanks for the post yours is the crem brulee of blogs.

Anyone else think Leon looks exactly like Wayne Grady in a dashiki.

DoctorPepperOz said...

I would kill for Leon Thomas' "Spirts Known & Unknown" - I had it years ago and lost it - one of my favourites and never reissued on CD -any chance of a download. Love your site. All the best from Downunder.

Bob said...

Doctor Pepper Oz, Spirits Known and Unknown is available on CD at Amazon here's the link


Enjoy, BTW I've met leon on 2 occasions at shows- an incredible human being...he will be sorely missed.

apf said...

Thank you!

hautegirlfresh said...

thanks for posting this

DoctorPepperOz said...

Thank you. Wish I had met him too.