Leon Ware

Leon Ware

Leon Ware

As a Detroit youngster in the mid-‘50s, Leon Ware was enraptured by the sinuous melodies he heard emerging from clubs like The Flame and Klein’s Show Bar, where jazzmen like Yusef Lateef, Roy Brooks, and Joe Henderson played nightly. Ware had a preternatural talent for music, and by the end of the ‘60s he'd earned a reputation as a respected and successful songwriter on the Detroit scene. He penned hits for Pat Lewis, The Isley Brothers, and, later, Michael Jackson. Ware’s momentum would be slowed somewhat by his association with Motown, where his solo career was put on hold so he could participate in a string of epochal collaborations with Marvin Gaye, most notably 1976’s masterful "I Want You." When Ware was finally released from his Motown contract, he produced solo work at a breakneck pace. This self-titled release, which he cut for Elektra in 1982, is easily his finest album from this period. It features a set of sophisticated, boogie-inflected modern soul tunes with the complex, multipart arrangements and smooth textures that characterized Ware’s ‘70s work with Gaye.

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