Leon Ware ‘Rainbow Deux’ 2xLP
The melodically adventurous soul of Leon Ware continues its expression in his final opus Rainbow Deux, released on double vinyl on September 13th.
The album features new songs recorded and performed by Leon before his health turned, leading to his transition on February 23rd 2017.
Taylor Graves came into Leon’s musical family in 2002 when he, his brother Cameron and the Bruner brothers Ronald Jr and Stephen (Thundercat) were playing along with their schoolmate Kamasi at an L.A. jazz club. Taylor, Cameron, Ronald and Stephen became Leon’s band for his debut shows in Japan in 2002 and Taylor continued to work with Leon as his mentor and collaborator over the next 15 years.
“Leon was ALWAYS writing something or developing his musical palette” his wife Carol Ware tells us, so it’s impossible to pinpoint any single moment of Rainbow Deux’s genesis. Six of the songs go back to 2012/2013 and were released in 2014 as part of Sigh, a Japan-only CD collection heavy with Rob Bacon’s tasteful licks and Wayne Linsey’s piano vibes. The rest of the material comes from Leon’s sessions with Taylor.
Describing Leon’s and his process, here’s Taylor: “We’d start by having some great homemade food! Then a glass of wine ‘to slow down time’. After we’d have our fill and smoked our joints we’d go into his studio room to listen and create.”
The album was finished-up around August of 2016 in a back-and-forth between Leon and his go-to mastering engineer Toni Economides in the UK.
Leon worked on Rainbow Deux with life’s greatest challenge looming over him, yet it is one of his most focused and cohesive solo offerings since the 1980s. The entire record is a vibe: mellow, deep and smooth as silk. The lyrical themes are eternal, and the music is elegant, soulful and sensual.
The album opens with the hypnotic throb of “For The Rainbow”, coming on like a percussive, slow-mo house shuffle. Gilles Peterson is a fan. The exotic “Let Love In” follows, with its gradual-build Island Funk, intricate guitar picks and sassy female vocals. It explodes when it hits its stride. “Sigh” is the stylish slow jam close-out to side A. Serene guitars and polished drums create neck snapping funk, with a swaggering finger-snap strut.
Catalogue number: BEWITH034LP
Label: Be With Records