Leon Ware –
The Blue Note NYC 11/28/11
Leon Ware has written and co-written some of the greatest and most beloved songs of the 20th Century.
The fact that he isn’t a household name is practically criminal.
Writing hits for and with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, Maxwell, Quincy Jones and many others, his rare NYC appearance was a must see for this longtime fan.
The charming and debonair Mr. Ware spread out on a dozen or so of his classics including “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” “If I Ever Lose This Heaven,” “Inside My Love,” the Maxwell smash, “Sumthin’, Sumthin’” and a trio of gems from Marvin Gaye’s I Want You. Backed by a stellar band featuring piano great Onaje Allan Gumbs and remarkable singer, Maya Azucena, the now 71 year old seduced the thoroughly appreciative crowd as they perfectly walked that wonderful line between great jazz and R&B.
Throughout the evening, Ware jumped on and off stage, greeting one and all, and even kissing hands of the swooning ladies. An old school showman with a soulful, tender voice, he clearly loves what he does and even commented on how proud he was of the many babies his love songs have resulted in.
As Ware ended the evening he graciously thanked the audience again and again. Inspired and deeply moved by the musical magic I had witnessed, I did something I’ve never, ever done at a performance. Suddenly, almost without realizing it, I shouted in return, “Thank YOU.” Getting a warm smile and thumbs up from the legend, it was the icing on the cake of a perfect show.
Yes, thank you to an American treasure whose music will live forever. May he one day get the mass recognition he so readily deserves.
--Evan Ginzburg Legends Radio