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Leon Ware

Oh Wonderful Internet! Before the World Wide Web was at our fingertips, I wonder what journalists all around the world had to go through to research certain subjects, issues, people. You had to perform real detective-work for your little bit of salary. Libraries, archives and memories of fellow friends and colleagues had to be contacted; a tremendous amount of work was accomplished being a P.I. And today? Punching in Leon Ware’s name in your preferred search-engine opens up a ton of information, including Mr. Ware’s very own site www.leonware.com. And let’s not forget www.jazzreview.com!

Then, after a few clicks, you are suddenly aware of Leon Ware’s dilemma: He is unquestionably one of the most extraordinary and profoundly respected Black Music-celebrities that nobody knows! As a singer, producer, writer, or just as an inspiration - Ware exceeds Quincy Jones-musical track record and is for sure one of the cornerstones of Soul and Soulful Vibes, blending smoothly into Jazz and affiliated grooves and styles.

Marvin Gaye and his all-time classic "I Want You"-album (1976, Motown) pop up as being the reason for stopping Leon Ware from becoming the world’s number one Soul-Megastar. Around the same time his "Musical Massage"-album (Motown as well) was released or should I say thrown on the market without a concept, and is today considered as being one of the most influential and simply best Soul-albums of music-history. Ware explains: "The album was never really realized. Essentially the album was ruined by the decision of Motown and my lack of knowledge. At the point that it was finished, it was Marvin’s "I Want You" album instead of mine. Somewhat we REALLY released it last year when they did the re-release of "Musical Massage". And that’s pretty much the story. In my understanding the album has yet to be realized for it’s potential, as much to myself as to the elements."

Leon Ware, worked for and with Black Music superstars like Donny Hathaway, Johnny Mathis, The Isley Brothers, Nancy Wilson, Minnie Riperton, Ike & Tina Turner and, let’s not forget, Marvin Gaye, just to name a very few. His career spans more than four decades, yet there is no end in sight. On the contrary, Leon Ware just started. His new 14-track album, "A Kiss In The Sand" (Kitchen Records), his tenth studio album as an artist, brings out his passion for Brazilian music and combines it with his ever-so-clear Soul-roots. "I recorded 80% of the album about 15, 20 years ago," Ware remembers.

"I had lots of people working with me on this album, and I changed a lot of it during the past 20 years. I always had this deep love for Brazilian music. And I worked with quite a few Brazilian musicians. One of them was Marcos Valle," Ware continues. "Me and Marcus wrote the title-track of the CD together. And Sandro Albert, a Brazilian guitarist, produced it with me. And because of all that I wanted to do a concept-album with a Brazilian taste, not necessarily Brazilian style - just to use the influences. Almost everybody on this album is Brazilian except for me, and the background singers. We all share the love of Brazilian music. And that’s a part of how this album came about. One more thing: The album is dedicated to my daughter Laura Michelle Ware who passed away a couple of years ago, and because of that, "A Kiss In The Sand" delivers as much love as you can appreciate."

And love is the word with Leon Ware, the love for his family, the love for his music and his sheer love for life, which he sees as a journey through the L-word with all its passion and defaults. One of the attempts to deliver his message is his own creation of a children’s book by the title of "The Adventures Of Safari Blue."

"Everything that I can possibly say is that before I will leave this life that I live in, before I transform into another, I want to leave behind as much as I possibly can. The book does deliver a message, yet at the same time a friend of mine told me that it is a successful story because it has all the ingredients any writer would want and that it will be a hit. I look forward to Safari Blue as being another voice for me as it is a dream that I have had for a long time. The book will probably be released this year around summertime. I finally found an illustrator who is as much in love with the material as me."

Back to his life philosophy - love: "I am very relaxed and I have much to say. I want to plant some seeds and make the world we live in brighter. This world has not seen the beauty that it is. We have not been on this earth long enough to realize its true power. Power is what the sun does, man does just the opposite. If you are a ruler, you are not a powerful person. A powerful person does not need to rule. We’re a long way away from it. So much hate, so much deception. We’re in the early growing days. I don’t think that we will see this vision of mine for a few thousand years, unfortunately, basically because of the immaturity because of being afraid of loving one another It’s really sad."

Looks like Leon Ware has a mission to accomplish: "I’m in pursuit of the same thing as priests, rabbis, monks and all peaceful men, Mahatma Gandhi and so on. They train people to - to love each other. That is my mission, my pride. I want to make people want to love, think of love, feel love "

His music, and his new set "A Kiss In The Sand" is no exception to this rule. It’s alive with his love-feel-appeal and promotes the true intention of sex, according to Ware, which is, he said, something that got carried away in our culture. "I consider myself a messenger. Messengers can be of meaning. For many years, I thought my message would be just lust, but now I realize it’s not only lust, but that sex IS a religion. It is to be cherished and to be adored in the same way you cherish religion. For example: When I’m recording for myself, it never really labors. On the contrary - it’s almost as touchy as sex. I’ve said many times in the past, music is my female act."

But let’s face it - Music is what JAZZREVIEW.com is after, and music is what carries Leon Ware through the years. "Music is my life passion until my last breath. I don’t think that I have ever listened to any of my music thinking that I got it all. I know too many people who influence me. I also don’t do much re-writing. Most songs that you know of me were done in an hour, an hour and a half. I have so much more I want to say, more in songs as I feel like that is my gift, my present to myself and to the world. Music is allowing me a voice, a voice that has a message."

Ware already has plans for future projects in mind, just one more proof of the passion that Leon Ware pours into his music and his life. "I’m already working on another project as my next studio album. It’s going to be very sexy. It’s done with a lot of DJs and Hip Hop writers, and about nine pieces are already done. I plan to release that around May." The man is a workaholic with passion to spare a musician, an artist, a character, and a true messenger of Soul.

Leon Ware’s personal view on life wrapped up the interview better than I could ever ask for. "I am very blessed. I am pretty much in the charts every year since 1964. I’m doing this for love, for fun, for entertainment and a lot of sex! Bottom line: I’m having a good time. But seriously, remember to embrace where you come from. I turn 65 this month and I am looking forward to the next 65!"

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Leon Ware
  • Interview Date: 2/1/2005
  • Subtitle: Musical Massage
Michael Arens

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