Many vocalists of the early 1970s found themselves in the world of spiritual, roots-oriented, consciousness jazz: DeeDee Bridgewater, Jean Carn, Jeanne Lee, Sherry Scott, Andy Bey, and others. But none exemplified the creativity of the music like singer/percussionist Leon Thomas. The vocalist and co-author with Pharoah Sanders of "The Creator Has A Master Plan", Thomas married his understandings of jazz and blues with an exploration of different African vocal traditions. While Thomas had a lyrical side, his voice became an instrument unto itself.
In the liner notes for one early Leon Thomas album it is reported, "Of Leon Thomas' singing on Pharoah Sanders' KARMA, Will Smith in Jazz & Pop Magazine observed: 'The voice projection of the lyrics is good and full, and leads to a wordless yodel sounding not unlike an American Indian call--the moaning of spirits known and unknown.'"
In 1997, Ian had the pleasure of meeting Leon.