Soul-Patrol Salutes Leon Ware: Marvin Gaye to Minnie Riperton to Michael Jackson to Maxwell and beyond!!!
* Leon Ware's Biography
* CD Review: Leon Ware - "A Kiss in the Sand"
* Upcoming Concert: Leon Ware @ the Temple Bar in Los Angeles
LEON WARE @ the TEMPLE BAR
Click here to check out more about Leon's upcoming appearance at the Temple Bar in Los Angeles
I'd like to take this oppurtunity to re-introduce Soul-Patrollers, near and far, around the corner and around the world to LEGENDARY SOUL/R&B ARTISTS of our time....
If you are the type of person who has read the liner notes of of some of the great albums of Black music over the past 35 years, then you are already quite familiar with the name of Leon Ware.
Recently I had the honor of introducing Leon Ware at a live performance in New York City, where Leon was a special guest. I wanted the crowd to understand just how important a figure Leon Ware was in the history of our music, so I rattled off some of the names that he has written hit songs for:
- Chante Moore
- Daryl Hall
- Helb Alpert
- Isaac Hayes
- Jerry Butler
- Johnathan Butler
- Jose Feliciano
- Jr. Walker
- Main Ingredient
- Marvin Gaye
- Michael Jackson
- Minnie Riperton
- Nancy Wilson
- Quincy Jones
- Stanley Turintene
- Todd Rudngren
- Will Downing
- Willie Hutch
I also wanted the crowd to understand that not only was Leon Ware an important link to our musical past, but also to our future. The mere fact that Leon Ware was going to be sharing the Stage with SonnyBoy (yes it was a Soul-Patrol Eventâ€¦..lol) was a real life example of Soul-Patrol's whole philosophy of "Great Black Music from the Ancient to the Future". (Click here for a review of that show).
Please take this mailing as an open invitation to spend some time at Leon Ware's website. For example, at Leon's website you can learn just which hit songs that he wrote for the artists listed above. Once you are there not only do you have the chance to listen to his music and learn all about his career, but you also have the opportunity to interact with him directly. Leon's got a fantastic message board where you can engage him and others around the world about any number of stimulating topics.
So check it out and let me know what cha thinkâ€¦
Leon Ware's Biography
"Can you cherish any place greater than where you come from?"
- Leon Ware
>From the lips of songwriter/singer great Leon Ware, philosophy, sexuality and comedy often co-exist within the same statement. It is the signature characteristic of one devilishly evolved angel - a man deeply in touch with the whisper-thin strands of synchronicity that cradle our existence on this earth like a weathered hammock in the breeze.
Thus the title of Leon Ware's tenth album, A Kiss in the Sand, a seamless blending of the Detroit-native's jazz and soul roots with the ebullient melodies and rhythms of Brazil. 'Sand', a metaphor for the element from which all mankind was made. 'Kiss', a prayerful bestowment of affection on mankind in hopes that we get our act together for the sake of our future generations. In the title track, which he co-penned with Marcos Valle, a Brazilian friend of over 20 years, Ware writes:
"Sweet kiss in the sand / This love in our hands / Goes on and on and on...."
"I'm always considering all the possibilities of what I say," Leon states through laughter that comes easily, heartily and often. "I guess that's what makes me a bit of a writer. In the few more breaths I have on this planet, I am hungry to say some things that will be useful to the world - a world that deserves a lot better than it is giving itself."
The 14-song A Kiss in the Sand, primarily co-produced by Leon Ware with Brazilian guitarist Sandro Albert, is a collection impeccably balanced between serenely sentimental soundscapes such as "Night In Brazil," "Away" and the breathtaking "Warm Inside" (co-written with Adrienne Anderson) with elegantly spiritual statements such as "Hearts Alive" (co-written with Japan's Kanafu Marie), "I Believe In Love" and the meditative "Live In My Love Forever." It is a concept Ware and Albert have dubbed "R & Bossa," also the name of Leon's new band.
Citing two songs as examples, Mr. Ware explains, "'The Light' reflects my belief about what men should be to each other - a light that eventually becomes one. We are not moments in time, but timeless lights. 'Spirits Lovin'' (featuring singers James Ingram and Billy Valentine) is a continuation of 'The Light.' I see the people of the world as spirits - 5 billion strong."
If you assumed that A Kiss in the Sand was all about lovers on the beach, you're not far from the sandy path that leads to Leon's door. Intimacy has ever been a hallmark of Leon Ware's transcendental classics - from Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" and "After the Dance" to Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love" and "Can You Feel What I'm Saying." It's been the crux on which destinies were determined from Michael Jackson's "I Wanna Be Where You Are" (1971) to Maxwell's "Sumthin' Sumthin'" (1996). So on the new album, when you hear a song like "Easy Mover" (co-penned with Guilherme Verguerio) and think it's about a woman, it is actually the ocean of which he speaks. Listen with your heart, mind and soul open wide. Even at his most fervent, it is as if Leon is whispering into your earlobe...vulnerably yet shamelessly serenading you from your soul to your toes.
For Leon Ware, sensuality is the hook with which he reels you in from a rocky bluff just up yonder. But what he lays on you once he's got you goes deeper than the loins can feel and further than the eyes can see. Remember "Rolling Down A Mountainside" by The Main Ingredient? "Whether you're saints or sinners / Smile and share / Sunlight as well as shadows / While you learn that everyone cares / Everyone out there / Has a cross to bear." It touched Isaac Hayes so deeply that he sang it in the unforgettable concert film, Wattstax (released on DVD this year). And then there's Donny Hathaway singing Leon's "I Know It's You," a spiritual rewritten as a love song to be shopped to soul men by his publishers. It took an intuitive master like Hathaway only one listen to see through the lingerie of the lyric into the gospel at its very core.
This delicious dichotomy has resulted in Leon Ware being ordained "The Sensual Minister." He even has a business card to back it up. "My mother was a Baptist," Ware begins by way of an explanation. "I went to church almost 7 days a week up until I was 10. She played piano and I sang. I went from that to living with Jewish friends, Buddhists and experiencing other cultures. I've come to see that all religions lead to the same door."
"My religion is Sensualism," Leon muses, "and I'm as sincere as any rabbi or priest. I'm proud to be one of the initiaries reminding people to recognize that we, ourselves, are a part of God, yet man still has not learned to respect his differences. Insecurity has been our nemesis, but that will be overcome! Then man will realize his true purpose - men waking up each morning to magnify each other. All obstacles in opposition to the joining of the spirits will have their day."
Arriving at the apex of his message, Ware continues, "Not many men have understood what real power is. Most men that attain power surround themselves with palaces or pyramids, money and gold. Most men want to oppress others, but a true intellect never seeks to be above. It yearns to be within. Power is what the sun does. It gives life and magnifies. True Power is when you make everything around you as powerful as you."
This message rings throughout A Kiss in the Sand. The album had its beginnings twelve years ago as Night in Brazil. It was the passing of Leon's daughter, Laura - following a lengthy bout with cancer - that crystallized its current incarnation. Leon co-wrote "Straight To My Soul" with her and dedicates A Kiss in the Sand to her memory. "My daughter's dying - what I prefer to call her point of arrival - was a lesson," Leon says softly. "Through it, I have not lost, but gained another dimension. I carry for her the same love as if she was physically here...ever growing. I'm learning to respect death as a transition - as a growing place. We must cherish every second."
Leon Ware's legacy is already sealed. Hits such as "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" and "I Wanna Be Where You Are" have been covered within the last two years by veteran Will Downing and newcomer Lisa Deveaux, respectively. "The Door," a contemporary Ware collaboration with blues man Keb Mo, was nominated for a Grammy. His songs have been sung "all around the world" in languages ranging from Portugese to Japanese. His music has been sampled by young artists ranging from The Artist (Prince), Aaliyah and Brandy to A Tribe Called Quest, 2Pac and 50 Cent's G-Unit. 2004 also found Ware in the studio coaxing the muse with Raphael Saadiq. And he's already at work diligently chiseling his next R&B masterpiece. "I'm always doing something," Ware assures. "I'm either in the studio or on my way to it!"
With the release of A Kiss in The Sand, Leon Ware will now aggressively pursue a dream that has been tugging at his soul all his life - that of becoming an international touring performer. He has already graced the stages of the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and Vienna Jazz Festival, as well as London's intimate Jazz CafÃ©. The Dutch Public Broadcasting company videotaped his career retrospective at the swank Paradiso venue in Amsterdam for the television special, ParadisoLife. Now he plans to take his musical massage everywhere he can and give the people a more literal, soulful kiss they can really feel - up close and personal.
"I've been more of a behind the scenes individual," Ware admits, "even though I'm in a field that calls for me to be just the opposite. I simply prefer writing and producing. My nature is low profile, but I'm going to appreciate being high profile. It's timeâ€¦and I'm excited! I have several views that I'm looking forward to sharing and clarifying with my public."
--A. Scott Galloway September 2004
CD Review: Leon Ware - "A Kiss in the Sand" (Southern Soul)
Leon Ware has been a musical force in all of our lives for many years, even if we didn't know it. This is the man who was behind some of the greatest songs in the history of Black music by artists such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Miracles, Quincy Jones, Minnie Riperton, Maxwell and more. Leon says that his "religion is sensuality" and here on his latest release called "A Kiss in the Sand", he proves it. Leon Ware's "A Kiss in the Sand" is what I would call back in the day, album #3". Some of you brothas know what album #3" is, but for those of you out there who might be uninitiated, I will explain the rotation :
Album #1 - mid tempo "non suggestive" black pop (EWF,New Birth, etc)
(and then if things seem to be going well move to...)
Album #2 - "suggestive" black jazz/funk" (Roy Ayres, Minnie Riperton, Lonnie
Liston Smith, etc)
(And with the right rap, a little wine, etc, move to...)
Album #3 - "music for doing the deed" (Jon Lucien, Barry White, etc)
You could stack your LP's on the spindle in such a way that when one side of the LP was done the next LP would "drop" on to the turntable and automatically play that side of the next LP. Since each side of an LP was 15-20 min long that meant that you knew had 30-40 min to either know that you were gonna get to "do the deed" or not. This meant a brotha could plan accordingly, based on knowing how long each side of the LP. Now if you knew what you were doing and timed things properly, this meant you could complete "round 1" by the time that side #1 of album #3" was completed.
Now for you kiddies without any "turntable experience" here is an additional little trick...
At the conclusion of "round 1", when the music ends, if you remove all three LP's from the spindle without disrupting the order and simply "flip them all over", and place them back on the spindle of your automatic turntable, you have created a perfect musical set for "round 2". This was usually quite effective; in fact it was so easy to do that it could even be done in complete darkness.....lol
(I'll bet that all of this is probably now a lost art.....lol)
(and without becoming too graphic, now you know what "an album #3"
That my friend is what the album "A Kiss in the Sand" by Leon Ware is all about and here is what cha need to do if you are planning to "road test" this album in your own environment:
1. Send the kids away to grandma's for the weekend
2. Tell your significant other that you are planning an "indoor picnic" for Friday evening
3. Take off early on Friday afternoon to buy "picnic supplies" and to program the CD player (since we don't use turntables anymore.....lol)
4. You will need 3 CD's, Leon Ware's "A Kiss in the Sand" along with 2 others that fit the criteria that I described above and think in terms of creating 6 different programs that you will be playing consecutively. Each of these programs will consist of 1/2 of the songs from each CD and you must program them in EXACTLY this sequence...
"Round one": 1/2Album #1--->1/2Album #2--->1/2 Leon Ware
"Round two": 1/2Album #1--->1/2Album #2--->1/2 Leon Ware
Now if some of yall think I have given you too much information, just pretend that you never read this. For the rest of yall, go ahead and give this a shot. Pick up the CD online at Leon Ware's official website at:
And let me know if YOU think that Leon Ware's latest release "A Kiss in the Sand" can qualify as "an album #3"
Track Listing: A Kiss in the Sand
(use at your own risk)
Live In Your Love Forever
A Kiss In The Sand
Night In Brazil
I Believe In Love
I Wish You Knew
Straight To My Soul
Check out the CD online by clicking here
LEON WARE @ the TEMPLE BAR
Click here to check out more about Leon's upcoming appearance at the Temple Bar in Los Angeles
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