Rare CD Defines Master Drummer/Percussionist As Leader /Composer
Babatunde Lea has been the drummer / percussionist of choice for legends Pharaoh Sanders, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston and Van Morrison, to name a few. On October 21, 2003 Motéma Music is releasing Level of Intent, Lea's amazing debut as a composer and leader. This CD is the precursor to his acclaimed March of the Jazz Guerillas (Ubiquity 1999) and his most recent release, Soul Pools (Motéma - February '03). This Afro-Latino-cosmic-jazz tour-de-force features jazz legends Hilton Ruiz, Kenny Barron, Jon Faddis, Charnette Moffett, Santi Debriano, Frank Colon, John Purcell and Frank Lacy and is the cornerstone in the trilogy that defines Lea's voice as a leader and master drummer / percussionist.
Showcased here is Lea's eclectic blend of Afro-Cuban-Carribbean rhythms and the unparalleled group energy that has now made him one of the hottest acts on the international jazz circuit. Originally released in 1995 on Lea's personal imprint, Diaspora, Level of Intent was not widely distributed, and copies are extremely rare and hard to find. Now signed to Motéma Music, a new and innovative label offering jazz, world, dance and other creative music, Lea is riding high on the crest of his most recent, critically acclaimed release, Soul Pools (Motéma - May '03).
Soul Pools received Four Stars in Downbeat, was selected as Critics Choice for 2003 in JAZZIZ Magazine, was covered in three articles in Billboard and earned Lea a nomination as Best Jazz Artist of 2003 by San Francisco Weekly. Soul Pools is still going strong and features Lea favorites, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz and trombonist/arranger Frank Lacy (who guests on '03 Grammy-nominated CDs by Elvis Costello and Mingus Big Band). "Level of Intent is the CD that made me want to sign Babatunde in the first place, so I'm thrilled to give this disc its day in the sun," says Jana Herzen, founder and CEO of Motéma. "It's fitting, too, because it was Level that first brought Babatunde together with Suzi Reynolds, our V.P. of A&R and producer of Soul Pools, who has helped greatly with Motéma's debut as a label."
Says Lea, "Music is a visceral expression of the spiritual glue that connects us to each other and to ourselves, and it's a powerful tool for transformation." It was this philosophy that motivated him to create his own non-profit Educultural Foundation with his wife, Dr. Virginia Lea, Ph.d., designed to provoke change in school arts programs and inspire critical, creative thinking through art and music. Harmonious integration of life, social change and music is key. As a teacher and activist, Lea currently runs Educultural programs in schools throughout California. With Motéma and the development of corporate partners, Lea hopes to expand these programs nationally.
Says journalist, critic, Tom Terrell in his Music Dish review, "Level Of Intent was indeed Babatunde Lea's coming out party and the audaciously radical prophecy that his masterpiece, Soul Pools, has now, oh so brilliantly, fulfilled."
International tour dates have been confirmed for 2004, including U.S., Japan, Germany and Ireland, and the prestigious Cork Jazz Festival. For information on music, colorful artwork, and press on Level of Intent, Soul Pools and the Educultural Foundation, please visit www.motema.com.
Babatunde Lea's "Soul Pools" summoned the spirit of jazz greats and other world music luminaries and created the most innovative, fresh and soulful searching music ever." - Jazz Review
A brilliant soloist, Lea is sensational ... a solo that is filled with passion, depth and musicality ..." - Allmusic.com
"A sterling disc with tight ensemble work ...a la the Jazz Messengers... led by a drummer, Lea, who drives and enhances the pieces with taste, not power. -Philadelphia Daily News