Leon Foster Thomas is a gifted international jazz musician and steel pan virtuoso who blends the music 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 Soloist and Duet competitions of 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); “a benevolent wizard” (Venice Magazine).
Leon’s deft and ambitious command of the steel pan has transcended beyond the instrument’s novel stereotype. He has collaborated with legendary artists in the jazz scene and beyond such as Hugh Masekela, Randy Brecker, John Daversa, Sammy Figueroa, Vince Mandoza, Igor Butman, Doly Parton, John Beasley, Mino Cinelu, Etienne Charles, Richard Smallwood, Orphy Robinson, Cyril Neville, Kindred The Family Soul, Ky-Mani Marley and many more, performing at internationally renowned venues such as New York’s Jazz At Lincoln Centre, The Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts in Miami and Moscow’s International House Of Music to name a few. Foster also played a significant part in her majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.
His latest album Calasanitus, described as a book of songs dedicated to his dear mother, Hillouise Calasanitus Foster, showcases a unique blend of Caribbean influence and spirit evolving from Foster’s Trinidadian heritage, combined with dexterous and innovative jazz complexity. The compositions generate an unmistakable vibe born out of the traditions of the West Indies and seamlessly incorporate the discipline and sensibilities of modern jazz music alongside this. The result is a sound that is beautifully calming and vitally energetic in equal measure.