Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter
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
A few years ago 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, Fourplay, Herb Alpert, Isaac Hayes, Jerry Butler, Johnathan Butler, Jose Feliciano, Jr. Walker, Madonna, Main Ingredient, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Miracles, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Spinners, Stanley Turintene, Todd Rudngren, Will Downing, Willie Hutch and more!!!
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 Event ..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 think
Thanks in advance…
The Legendary Leon Ware Comes to NYC and Leon Ware Comes To The Soul-Patrol.com Chat Room
I’m going to try to be at this show. For those of you who have never expericenced Mr. Leon Ware live in concert you should as well. Those of you in Philly & NYC who came out in support of our friend Leon Ware a few years ago know just what I’m talking about. Leon Ware is one of Soul-Patrol’s favorite artists and we are truly proud of the release of his very first release on the STAX label.
LEON WARE – CD RELEASE PARTY for MOON RIDE
The Blue Note, NYC World’s Finest Jazz Club & Restaurant, 131 West 3rd St., NY, NY 10012 www.bluenotejazz.com ~ (212) 475-8592
Monday, October 27, 2008 ~ Sets @ 8pm & 10:30pm
Tickets $20 @ table / $10 @ bar
A music maker for four decades, Leon’s amazing list of impressive credits includes classic recordings by Quincy Jones, Minnie Riperton, Michael Jackson, Maxwell, Average White Band and of course, the late Marvin Gaye (whose Ware-written and produced "I Want You" LP remains a seminal Motown album). MOON RIDE is Leon’s debut album for Stax/Concord Records. His first major label album in over two decades, MOON RIDE represents the culmination of a very active period in Leon’s career. As a native of Detroit, Leon found himself writing for artists such as Martha & the Vandellas and Isley Brothers at Motown in the mid-’60s. A collaboration with Ike & Tina Turner for a United Artists album led to Leon’s own first solo venture for that label in 1972, recorded while he was continuing to write hits for other Motown acts such as The Jackson Five and a solo Michael Jackson, for whom he penned the hit single, "I Wanna Be Where You Are." Leon began working on two projects at Motown in 1976, including a solo project; when label founder Berry Gordy Jr. heard the song "I Want You," he wanted it recorded by Marvin Gaye. Subsequently, Leon produced Gaye’s entire album of the same name, achieving tremendous success on the pop and R&B charts. His own "Musical Massage" LP was issued by Motown later that year and regarded as a groundbreaking album, considered ahead of its time, it was reissued in 2003 to much critical acclaim.
2. LEON WARE COMES TO THE SOUL-PATROL.COM CHAT ROOM (10/23)
10/23/2008 – Leon Ware Hosts LIVE in the Soul-Patrol Chat Room
If you can’t make it to NYC for this great show, you are in luck, because we are going to have Mr. Leon Ware for you LIVE in the Soul-Patrol Chat room where you can listen to his great new album "MOON RIDE" and also ask him questions about his legendary career.
Go ahead and try it, invite your friends to join us for these discussions. It’s a once in a lifetime chance for you to meet these artists and speak with them directly!!!!
Just go to the link, enter your email/zip code. Select a nickname, select a "chat type" and click thru
CD Review: Leon Ware – "Moon Ride"
You cats may remember some of Mr. Ware’s work with the likes of Quincy Jones, AWB and Minnie Ripperton (to name just a few). His style is very pervasive as he’s able to elicit emotion from artists that match his own for expressiveness, intensity and meticulous attentiveness to detail. The most receptive to Mr. Ware’s production was the late Marvin Gaye on his seminal I Want You album.
It is this excursion into seduction, passion and reflection that fuels this Moonride. One salivates at the possibility of hearing Marvin interpret some of these tunes. This in no way however slights Mr. Ware’s interpretation of his own material. He does all that is necessary to properly express his writings in song. As I listened to this album I thought to myself that this man is actually responsible for a certain style of soul/r&b that has held it’s own for quite awhile now.
The groundwork and foundation was lain with his work with Q, James Ingram, AWB and especially Marvin Gaye. I’ll stop and start with the steamy If I Ever Lose This Heaven. He tried it on himself with Minnie Ripperton taking us to this place of ethereal orgasmic nirvana in only ways that a Leon Ware produced tune can. If I Ever Lose This Heaven indeed.
At any rate the genre of "cool-ass-loverman-singing-jazzy-but-seductive-soul" was born. You know this place. It inhabits the likes of Joe, Kem, Maxwell, Kenny Lattimore, Wil Wheaton, Jon Lucien, Robin Thicke and Will Downing.
Luther Vandross, Eric Benet, Marlon Saunders and Gerald LeVert also apply here BUT they distinguish themselves too much to fit in here. You see, none of the above-mentioned cats are going to be accused of ‘singing the hell’ out of any of these tunes. They can’t because it would be too obtrusive. It would get in the way of the mood that they’re producing with the sparse rhythm sections, string synths and slick quasi Afro-Cuban grooves. No matter the tempo of the tune everything always reaches and maintains a slow boil. Percolating. Occasionally raging but the idea here is to sustain a mood, a groove that makes a perfect ‘bed’ if you will for lovemaking. All of these cats are considered sexy and most of their music is played with the lights low, in the company of someone special and the libation of your choice.
Moonride is no different.
There is thankfully very little if any man-in-the-box keyboardisms. It pretty much sounds like a traditional rhythm section of guitar (plenty of flamenco/ R&B/Curtis Mayfield style fills). Again there’s nothing here that’s going to get in the way of the things that you are saying to your sweetie unless you just be quiet and let Leon say it
for you. This band shows great restraint while actually jamming their asses off. On Hold Tonight, Moonride, Blue Dress and especially the mighty, mighty Smoovin these cats are COOKING! Moonride is a cold blooded Marlon Saunders tune if I ever heard one but the tune that really kills me is Smoovin. Man oh man, I haven’t heard this kind of stuff in years! There are no horns but this is begging for some tasty Jerry and Cynthia type spit-diddly-dip licks. What it does have is an effectively (and sparsely used) string synth thing. The drums and bass are doin all of this real cute stuff. Nothing thunderific. Just handling every angle, nook and cranny that can be found in the pocket. Never overplaying, these two make you peck your neck.Sort of like the old saying: My Daddy was a jockey and taught me how to ride. He told me to hit it from side to side. Might just make you jump out of bed! The groove of this song is that good. This gets a replay from me ever time. It’s very much like Wayne Brady’s Ordinary and Eric Benet’s Weekend Girls in that respect.
Stop, shop and cop this one.
Here’s the set list:
4-Just Take Your Time
7-I Never Loved So Much
8-To Serve You (All My Love)
10-A Whisper Away
Hire A Band (gimme dis rhythm section)
Check out the CD online by clicking here
5/27/2006 Concert Review: Leon Ware/Maya Azucena @ North by Northwest (Philly)
I left the Philadelphia Black Heritage Festival for the day at around 8pm. I was tired as hell from the festival and I knew I had to return early the next day. I was also scheduled to cover this concert which was scheduled to
begin at 10pm. I was hot, tired, sweaty, hungry, and thirsty and had a choice. I could go home and change my clothes. I could go straight to the club
I opted to go to the club, cuz I knew that if I went home, I would crash until the next morning…
This wasn’t an ordinary club date. I knew that it was going to be something historic, because I knew that this was truly an important occasion in the life of a legendary songwriter, who was making his debut as a performer.
So I went to to the club, with my "xtra FUNKY self", took a seat near the rear of the club, ate dinner and waited for the show to start.
Up on the stage was the band and NYC based up and coming Soul music superstar Maya Azucena took the microphone and introduced Leon Ware. Soon the music started and as the band started to play the beginning of the first song, it immediately sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. And then suddenly I heard Leon Ware’s voice singing the opening lyrics of the song "I Wanna Be Where You Are". But I didn’t see Leon Ware at first. He wasn’t on the stage.
The band was cooking, it was a different arrangement than the version we are all familiar with from the Micheal Jackson 1970’s hit song, it was a jazz-funk type of a thang. As Leon continued to sing the song he emerged from the back staircase of the club, which leads to the dressing room area. And when he emerged what we saw was Leon Ware, dressed in "black on black on
black" as if he were the living/breathing/walking/talking embodiment of "satan" and that set the tone for the evening.
This evening was going to be all about the topic of "lust" and it’s many manifestations.
("Lust" is an emotion which has both a "good and evil" side to it….)
As Leon emerged from the shadows of the rear of the club, he continued to to sing the song in a way that made you quickly forget all about the Micheal Jackson version that we all remember from 1970’s radio. This was no teenager saying "I Wanna Be Where You Are". This was the man who originally wrote the song, singing it in the LUSTFUL way that he had originally conceived it.
And he was singing it to the young and beautiful Maya Azucena, who kinda sorta resembles Freda Payne.
And that sets the stage for the evening.
When Leon finally reaches the stage and finishes the song, the packed audience reacts with a thunderous applause, because they now know that they are in for something special…
Leon thanks them and then announces that he and Maya are going to perform his "greatest hits" (the songs he wrote for Quincy Jones, Maxwell, Marin Gaye, Minnie Riperton, etc) as "duets".
And with that Maya starts singing the beginning of Maxwell’s "Something, Something". Leon joins her and the same thing happened as with "I Wanna Be Where You Are".
They literally "kick the song in the azz"
You quickly forget that Maxwell ever did the song!!!
Same thing happens when they do Minnie Riperton.
Same thing happens when they do Quincy Jones
Leon Ware wrote all of these songs.
We are familiar with them
We think that we know these songs.
We have the words memorized.
We have danced to these songs.
We have made love to these songs.
We think we know them.
When we see Leon Ware perform the, we quickly realize that we don’t really know these songs at all and perhaps never did. We begin to understand the genius of Leon Ware and just how important he has been in the progression of Black music over the course of the past 35 years. Until this night I had always thought of these songs as being isolated entities, done by different artists at different points in time. Now I understand that they aren’t "isolated" at all. That’s because until this night I had never heard these songs in the proper context. And now I have, I understand not only what these songs are supposed to be about and about the story that they tell. That’s because now for the first time Leon Ware himself is connecting the dots and telling this lustful tale, which spans a 35 year period of time.
("Lust" is an emotion which has both a "good and evil" side to it….)
Leon Ware ("devil") and Maya Azucena ("angel") together on stage provide us with a stark audio/visual physical picture of what "LUST" looks and feels like.
It’s the antithesis of what we remember about Mavin/Tammi, Steve/Edy, Carpenters, Captain & Tennile, etc.
(It ain’t about "love")
It’s about "LUST"!!!!
I think that this is the type of thing that Prince has tried to covertly do from time to time in his career.
I think that this is the type of thing that Rick James tried to "overtly" do from time to time in his career.
I think that the combination of Leon and Maya do it as good (if not better), then either Prince or Rick.
They end the set with a rendition of "I WANT YOU".
We all remember the Marvin Gaye version.
We know it by heart.
We think we know it well.
Trust me; you haven’t really experienced the song at all. Marvin Gaye’s version was great. Perhaps if Tammi Terrell had lived, we might have seen her and Marvin Gaye do a version of the song, similar to what I saw Maya Azucena and Leon Ware do on Saturday night May 27 in Philadelphia at North By Northwest.
Neither Marvin Gaye or Tammi Terrell is with us anymore.
Maya Azucena and Leon Ware are.
And for that we are indeed most fortunate.
I’m glad that I made the decision to go straight to North by Northwest on Saturday night May 27. I had a chance to be a witness to history, along about 250 other people who chose to go to North by Northwest on Saturday night May 27.
This time next year I am sure that there will be thousands of other people who will claim that they were also in attendance.
I’m telling you right now, that those folks will be lying.
The club ain’t that big.
So when Leon Ware comes to your city.
Go and see him make history…
("Lust" is an emotion which has both a "good and evil" side to it….)
Leon Ware’s Biography
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 Café. 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 time 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"
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"
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
If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:
Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back soon with the next edition, with email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.
If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what’s on your mind.