Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Leon Foster Thomas Presents: Calasanitus (Krossover Jazz)

Leon Foster Thomas Presents Calasanitus (Krossover Jazz)



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UK release date 03.03.2023

Leon Foster Thomas has gained global recognition via a plethora of accolades, including winning both solo and duet competitions at the World Steel Band Music Festival. And now, with his new batch of artful abstractions, he yields some of the most effortless jazz you’ll likely hear this year. He has crafted an emphatic and hearty sequence from his last effort, the well-received “Metamorphosis” on hip label Ropadope Records.

Leon is a sage of the pan, turning melodies into sheltered reveries that speak of decades. Intimate and honed his melodic breeze is an emblematic realisation of his capabilities that rejoice in the here and now. His music speaks in quiet streams of thought, each ripple extending a hand to pull us upstream to the glorious source.

“I Am An Immigrant” kicks off proceedings with gently arpeggiated and pictorial piano. This unfolds nicely before the vibe of “Sketches Of Spain” takes hold, highlighting John Daversa’s luminous trumpet solo, then giving way to Foster Thomas’ imperious pan improv, which rides the modal waves safely back to shore. It’s an impressive and satiated start from what is essentially a two-note hook! The thematic, piano-led thread continues with the spectral “Silent Maze”, giving way to some devotional sax playing courtesy of Troy Roberts, which is matched all the way by the fierce and ebullient drumming of Mike Piolet.

Last, but not least, the pan takes the tune out with some choice flexing, before the lilting coda takes the tune safely to bed. With only two tunes in, you can tell this is a tour de force record. The ensemble work is off the chain and the band leader’s ability to carry so much cargo in so fine a mesh of hammered steel is quite simply, a marvel to behold. The gilt-edged, Latin-inflected “Bliss” adds sonic variety and the darting flute (in tandem with the pan) and punchy trumpet really cuts the mustard, as the group stretches out. Each musician translates the other’s language in a borderless loop of communication so that by the end, we are one step closer to sharing their fine glossary, which is essentially a real touch of class.
Words Emrys Baird

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