Closing this year's festival, we are thrilled to be joined by the global steelpan star Leon Foster Thomas as he plays a free show on Watford Heath, by the Royal Oak pub. Leon, a multiple past winner of the World Steelband Music Festival, will be joined by his band to play a hugely accessible and suitably Caribbean infused set for all. Expect jazz and blues like you've never heard it before.
Leon Foster Thomas is a gifted international jazz musician and steel pan virtuoso. His music is a blend of his Caribbean roots with the harmonic and improvisational complexities of jazz, creating a lively and eclectic meld all his own.
Winner of the World Steelband Music Festival’s Soloist and Duet competitions in 2002 and 2004, critics laud him as “the next big thing on his instrument”, “...an enthralling improvisor...” (All About Jazz); “...masterful with impeccable musicianship” (When Steel Talks); and “a benevolent wizard” (Venice Magazine).
Leon’s deft and ambitious command of the steel pan has transcended beyond the instrument’s novel stereotype to being featured at world stages such as New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts (Miami), Moscow International House of Music, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Perm International Jazz Festival (Russia), Miami Downtown Jazz Festival, International Festival of Contemporary Culture (Kazakhstan), and Pittsburgh Jazz Live International Festival. He has also worked with artists such as: Hugh Masekela, Randy Brecker, John Daversa, Sammy Figueroa, Vince Mendoza, Richard Smallwood, Ky-Mani Marley, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Dolly Parton, Igor Butman, John Beasley, and many more.
Having two well-received solo albums under his belt, his latest release, Metamorphosis, on Ropeadope Records, exemplifies his growth and maturation as a musician. Honing his in-depth talents as a musical storyteller, Leon has produced an album which perfectly illustrates his transformative journey.
Leon has a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida Memorial University and a Master of Music degree at Florida International University. He continues to perform at festivals and concerts around the world, as well as conducting lectures and master classes at various educational and cultural institutions.
We can't wait!