Leo Johnson | Message To Mankind

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Jazz: Jazz quartet Blues: Jazzy Blues Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Message To Mankind

by Leo Johnson

Genre: Jazz: Jazz quartet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Song of the Elders
5:59 album only
2. Message To Mankind (feat. Bobby Porter)
4:17 album only
3. The Lonely Man (feat. Bobby Porter)
7:15 album only
4. Quest For Peace (feat. Bobby Porter)
3:33 album only
5. The Little Ones (feat. Bobby Porter)
5:04 album only
6. I Want To Be Loved
7:17 album only
7. Waheda
3:30 album only
8. Slow Drag
5:31 album only
9. Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me
9:53 album only
10. The Lonely Man (Instrum)
7:14 album only


Album Notes
Liner Notes

Leo Johnson Comes On: MESSAGE TO MANKIND (Music and Lyrics by Leo Johnson)

Leo Johnson is one of the fabled jazzmen of my hometown, Newark, NJ, and like many of the fabulous players from that Raisin in the Sun, they all too often remain characters of obscure fiction, fables on the real side, lacking the recognition they deserve to enter the pantheon of more celebrated, though not more skillful, players, whose contemporaries they are. They labor in the vineyards, as it were, never or rarely being "discovered" by the outside world of pundits and pen pushers, so their careers could fit into a larger, more celebrated frame.

But the music on this CD should change that, if it is the quality of what is presented here that is judged, understood and appreciated. With this CD Leo Johnson makes his strongest bid for general recognition and acclaim. From the first sound of the beautiful horn on Dinah Washington’s classic “I Want to Be Loved” any real digger will know they have an earful of mastery. A mastery hard won on the musical Battlefields playing in groups led by Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, David “Fathead” Newman, playing everywhere from New York’s Birdland to Newark’s Priory.

The most ambitious work on the CD is its title “Message to Mankind”, a four part work, which features the deep pulsing baritone of Bobby Porter, a voice that will put older heads in mind of the great Pancho Hagood on Miles’ The Birth of The Cool, “Darn That Dream”. Heard solo on the first three fourths of the “Message”, Like Leo Johnson Porter is someone who needs big name exposure to properly celebrate his skills.

The themes the Message to Mankind, ( actually a message to Humanity), “The Lonely Man” , “The Quest for Peace” , “The Little Ones” On this composition, Leo has added a string section, Jenise Reedus and Hisaichi Shimura, violins; Dave Remilis, viola; and Gerall Heiser, cello, to deepen the message. Plus the other pieces on the album are as impressive, the Afro-Cuban “ Waheda”, the bluesy “Slow Drag” and Duke’s still stunning classic “Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me” (which Langston Hughes wanted played at his funeral).

Leo has “come on” with a very solid group. McCune’s “sweet” piano, bassist Lisle Atkinson, whose been around the block since the block got here, as steady as a great ship’s hull, always there. Steve Philips whom we hear to great advantage rolling beneath Leo’s call to self consciousness, “Song of the Elders”
One way we can help Leo Johnson “Come On” is to cop (buy) this record and talk it up.

Amiri Baraka 8/20/09

Message To Mankind was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement after the 1967 Newark Riots.   This work is about healing and people coming together to quell violence and living in peace.   If you don’t have a positive attitude, you can’t move forward.  
Message To Mankind (Lyrics)
“Wake up brother man and checkout this land
Get yourself together and be somebody.
You and me. Working together to create harmony
Children all the time scoping on our minds
Trying the find the answers to face this whole world
Whole world. Whole world. Bold world.”
*The Lonely Man was composed in Paris in 1974 while on tour with Rhoda Scott at the club Saint Germaine. 
The Lonely Man
The lonely went away
Wandering for a long time
Here and there…he didn’t care
Searching for a way of life
Free of strife
A life of peace, love, and contentment
There were times he encountered
Bewilderment, agony, and woe
Traveling down the lonesome highway
Sadness in his heart, as he trotted down the road
Then looking all around him
He became astounded
Entranced by his surroundings
Nature’s warmth and beauty filled his heart
Full of peace and love
His mind with understanding of himself and life’s woes
Nevermore will he go searching for
What’s always been inside him.
Now that he’s found the secret
That justifies his inner self for existence
Now the lonely man’s never lonely anymore
Quest For Peace
God Almighty up above
Bless us with your precious love.
Hand in hand from sea to sea
Sharing in perfect harmony.
Hearts and souls do share in pain
Soothe them with your sweet refrain.
Even in the darkest night
Fill our paths with heavenly light
Talk To The Little Ones
Talk to the little ones
So they’ll grow up to be
Respected useful citizens
In their community




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