Released: 9th November 2015
Label: Heavenly Sweetness Records
Live: The Jazz Café, London, 5th November 2015
Leron Thomas is big underground. A cursory glance at his press page pays testament to how highly regarded the Texan-born New York -residing trumpeter, composer vocalist and lyricist is amongst tastemakers. Having made his mark with contributions to a host of highly acclaimed projects – Bilal, Jason Moran, Guts, Meshell Ndegeocello and of course the stunning vocal on Zara McFarlane’s ‘Angie La La’- he’s rated as much for his trumpet and vocal prowess as for his true artistic independence. Yet it would it be wrong to put him in the jazz/soul/funk box and firmly close the lid. Far from it. Leron Thomas’s own music is a dazzling concoction of musical styles; random, raw and experimental.
Cliquish is the new recording from Leron Thomas and a fine demonstration of just how unclassifiable this great talent is. Here, funky soul and driving bass lines meet with hard inde rock riffs and electro pop sci-fi weirdness. Put simply, this is alternative black music that sounds like no other.
When Thomas puts down his trumpet to take the mic, he offers boldness and versatility. Whether delivering a leading melody or a discreet vocal line behind a groove, his distinctive voice is always surprising. Tracks such as Role Play (featuring Bilal) a space-funk burner with a pumping bass line alongside the electro pop Don’t You Know with its feel- good melody and futuristic vibe brings to mind Sa-Ra, George Clinton and Outkast. Elsewhere heavy guitar riffs and synths make for a tense mood. With its layers of sound, deep musicality and lyrics laced with poignancy and humour, Cliquish is an album that makes you want to listen.
Cliquish is Leron Thomas’s ninth self-produced independently released album and was recorded between New York and Paris. All tracks are original compositions except ‘Don’t You Know’ (Jan Hammer). Joining Leron on the album is an assortment of artists with the core band comprising of musicians from the Heavenly Sweetness label – Florian Pellissier (keys), Greg F (guitar and bass), Tim Bacherand (bass) and Tibo Brandalise (drums). RnB soul singer and producer Bilal guests on ‘Role Play’ alongside Simon Mavin from Australian Grammy nominated future soul outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote on additional keys and sounds and Michael Severson (bass, Guitar, percussion) who regularly performs with Bilal and Meshell Ndegeocello. Help with musical direction comes from French electronic beat-maker & producer Guts , co- founder of the 90’s hip-hop band, Alliance Ethnik, with whom he shares the stage at London’s Jazz Café on November 5th.