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Leon Thomas

Born: October 4, 1937 | Died: May 8, 1999    Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Leon Thomas

Leon Thomas is one of the most unique and gifted of all jazz vocalists, he shocked the jazz world with his amazing capabilities when he took it by storm in the late 1960s with his collaborations with Pharoah Sanders.

Leon Thomas born in East St. Louis, Illinois on Oct. 4 1937, and studied music at Tennesseee State University, eventually moving to New York City in 1958. Early sessions included work with names like Count Basie, Randy Weston, Roland Kirk and Oliver Nelson before linking up with Pharoah Sanders for a partnership that continues to entrance listeners today.

Leon recorded on two of Sanders’ most renowned classics “Karma,” (1969) and “Jewels Of Thought,” (1970) and his vocals on the cuts “The Creator Has A Master Plan” and “Hum-Allah” have ensured his reputation. Just as Sonny Sharrock's startling guitar was the unique foil for Pharoah's slashing saxophone, so Leon Thomas had the virtuosity, intensity and blinding originality to keep up with Sanders. It was on these recordings that Leon revealed his unique vocal gift which might best be described as kind of scat-yodelling, offbeat and wonderful sounds which seem to well up from his inner being....
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Source: Simon Leng

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