Leon “Foster” Thomas has a new CD out called A Brand New Mischief. The Florida-based pannist, arranger and composer creates enjoyable mischief on the CD throughout the seven songs, aided and abetted by Allan C Paul on piano, Kurt Hengstebeck on acoustic bass and Ludwig Alfonso on drums. The theme song Brand New Mischief, Soul Window, Sleepless Nights, Amour Bleu, Baby Powder, Enchantment and Annecy, a tribute in pan to his newborn daughter, were all composed by this talented son of the soil. What flows from this CD is a group of musicians enjoying the musical ride and creating musical mischief. This new CD follows his 2010 debut solo album CD What You Don’t Know, which was highly rated, especially his treatment of Sparrow’s Obeah Wedding (also called Melda), which stood out.
Brand New Mischief is different; it does not contain any calypsoes but sweet music, nonetheless enthralling modern jazz. It is in stride with the New York Amsterdam News which describes Thomas as a force in modern jazz, and his playing as “riveting, his artistry as unrivalled and stage personality dominant.” This widely-travelled pannist has played with some of the best in the business—Hugh Masekela, Dolly Parton, Etienne Charles and others, plus all the top pannists, jazz musicians and calypsonians in T&T. His achievements, which could fill a newspaper, are many, dating back to win soloist category of the 2002 World Steelband Music Festival. Since then he has not looked back. With a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Florida Memorial University under his belt, Thomas has burnished his name on the jazz circuit in Miami, performing and recording all genres of music.
Thomas, who is also a drummer of repute, has arranged music for the Miami Pan Symphony and Crossfire Steel Orchestra in the New York Panorama. He credits his deceased parents Hillouise and Loderick Foster for his musical voice, and the panyards of T&T for his development. Mr Muzik says keep your eyes on this fast-rising star.
Valentino celebrates 71
The “Elder Statesman of Calypso” Brother Valentino (Emrold Phillip), will celebrate his 71st birthday on Wednesday at the Mas Camp Pub, corner of French Street and Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain. The show called Valli At 71 starts at 8 pm, and will feature Brother Mudada, Luta, Explainer, Soft Touch and rapso soldiers, Brother Resistance and Karega Mandela, all backed by Len Cummings and the Wailers. The Kaiso Jewels—Ramona and Kathy will do the back-up honours. The spotlight will fall on Brother Valentino, who told Mr Muzik he will sing seven songs from his wide repertoire, which includes Stay Up Zimbabwe, the classic Life Is A Stage, Liberty or the Cemetery, Glory Days, Bands From the West, Where Calypso Went, Calypso in Trouble, No Replacements, among others.
Now celebrating 50 years as a calypsonian, Brother Valentino, also called the People’s Calypsonian, says there will be no compromise as he sticks to the ideals of the calypso art form. Known for his hard-hitting style of delivery, Brother Valentino promises an evening to remember for fans. He thanks all supporters and Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (Tuco) who have stood by his side all these years. Mr Muzik urges fans to turn out in their numbers to support one of the finest brothers in calypso, even buying his new CD, Food For Thought. Brother Valentino also told Mr Muzik a repeat of the much-acclaimed show, Poets and Prophets, is in the works.