And here we go, once gain mourning the loss of one of our idols with the passing of Leon Ware last Thursday. An info which his manager confirmed soon after. And although no further development was officially given, it is firmly believed he died from complications from a prostate cancer which he got diagnosed with by the end of the 2000’s.
Born in Detroit, MI, Leon Ware initially established himself as a songwriter. His first success coming in 1965 with ‘Got To Have You Back’. A track which he co-wrote with Steve Bowden and Ivy Hunter for the Isley Brothers. He married Susaye Greene in the early 70’s for whom he produced an album for Motown. Although it never saw the light. Meanwhile, he collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing 6 songs on their 1971 ‘Nuff Said’ album for United Records. A label that would welcome his eponymous debut-album the year after. Later that year, Ware began collaborating with Diana Ross‘s younger brother, Arthur ‘T-Boy’ Ross. One of the songs they wrote was ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’. A song which Michael Jackson recorded on his ‘Got To Be There’ album, that saw the light by the beginning of 1972.
Together with ‘T-Boy’, he then started working on his second album due to be released on Motown. Among the demos was ‘I Want You’ which label head Berry Gordy decided to give to Marvin Gaye. From then, Leon Ware went on to write for various artists. From Donny Hathaway to The Miracles. But also Quincy Jones and Minnie Riperton. An activity which he would maintain along with time, developping his so to say customer base to a rare level. But also finding an echo on different scenes. The list of the ones he collaborated with including Bobby Womack, Teena Marie and Jeffrey Osborne. Not to mention Loose Ends, Billy Griffin and Krystol.
He’s also the one who helped Neo-Soul singer Maxwell to produce his debut-album, ‘Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite’, released in 1996. This being how I met them when the latter came to introduce it during a showcase at Paris the Blue Note.
Under his own banner, Leon Ware released a total of 12 albums. With the last one – ‘Sigh’ – back in 2014 on Japanese label P-Vine.
Lesser known although pretty much illustrating what the man was about would be the outstanding ‘On The Beach’. A track which he created near his Malibu home in 2011. I have to say I didn’t quite understand why Ralph Tee released it as the flipside of ‘Step By Step’ on his Expansion Records label. We nevertheless warmly welcomed it back then on our Facebook page. And more recently included it in our 10 essential Atjazz remixes.
Download from Traxsource.
By 2009, Leon was recovering from treatment for prostate cancer. He sadly died, aged 77 on Febr. 23, 2017, due to complications from the disease.
Indamixworldwide would like to express their deepest condolences to Leon Ware‘s family and friends…
Tribute: Leon Ware