In 1969, inventive avant-garde vocalist Leon Thomas released his debut album on the Flying Dutchman label - Spirits Known and Unknown. The album showcases Thomas' distinctive and unique scat-yodel, which had gained a lot of attention earlier in 1969 when he appeared on Pharoah Saunder' renowned Karma album - particularly on the the song The Creator Has a Master Plan. Thomas composed the lyrics for the song, and a version of the song was also included on the Spirits Known and Unknown album. The album also introduced a vocal adaption of the 1965 Horance Silver instrumental Song For My Father, with lyrics written by singer/songwriter Ellen May Shashoyan (who didn't record the song herself until 1989). Over the following few years Thomas appeared on a 1970 Louis Armstrong album, and he released a half dozen critically acclaimed solo albums. Despite all the attention and success, he remained a somewhat underground vocalist. In 1973 Thomas joined the Santana band, and for 2 years he toured with the group and he recorded on their Welcome album as well as their epic 3-disc live album Lotus. In 1999, Thomas died of heart failure at 61 just after performing a show in Harlem. At the time he was living in the Bronx, where he had a five year old son - his namesake Amos Leon Thomas III. Like his father, young Amos dropped his first name and went by Leon. His father, "the man", would never see his success in music and television. When he was 10-years old, young Leon made his Broadway debut as Simba in The Lion King, and in 2006 he provided his voice for the popular children's show The Backyardigans. And from 2010 to 2013 he played Andre, a main character on the trendy Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious. Since then, Leon Thomas III has enjoyed major success as a singer and songwriter, writing hit songs for Drake, Rick Ross, Ariana Grande, Toni Braxton and many others.
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