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[Oral history interview with Leon Thomas]

Author: James Briggs Murray; Leon Thomas; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Oral History Video Documentation Program.
Publisher: 27--May--1988.
Edition/Format:   VHS video : VHS tape : U-matic   Visual material : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The Oral History Interview with Leon Thomas documents his life as a professional vocalist and his career in music.
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Genre/Form: History
Interviews
Oral history
Named Person: Eddie Jefferson; Pharoah Sanders; Leon Thomas; Eddie Jefferson; Pharoah Sanders; Leon Thomas
Material Type: Videorecording
Document Type: Visual material
All Authors / Contributors: James Briggs Murray; Leon Thomas; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Oral History Video Documentation Program.
OCLC Number: 32637666
Credits: Produced by James Briggs Murray.
Description: 1 videocassette of 1 (180 min.) : sound, color ; 1/2 in.
Details: VHS.
Responsibility: interviewed by James Briggs Murrary.

Abstract:

The Oral History Interview with Leon Thomas documents his life as a professional vocalist and his career in music.

Thomas discusses his youth and his early acquaintance with and interest in jazz. He tells how he was known to have responded to the stimuli on the radio before he could talk. He tells how he became involved in singing during junior high school, that he began to perform professionally, and that he was given the nickname of "Mr. Modern." He talks about his visit and move to New York City, how he got a job at the Apollo, and how he took Joe Williams' place with the Count Basie Orchestra. Thomas explains his draft was contrived by his father's enemies, and that he returned to Basie's orchestra after 6 months of service. Thomas tells how he developed his trade mark of "yodeling." He discusses his study of African sound and African lore and his work with Pharoah Sanders. He discusses the development of mambo music, the influences of women in jazz, and the African diaspora movement of the late 1960's early 1970's. He tells of his freindships with and the influences of Eddie Jefferson, Mary Lou Williams, Betty Carter, and other noteable jazz figures. The interview ends with a discussion on fusion and electronic music, and Thomas' message to the young to study and listen.

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