Leroy Burgess

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Leroy Burgess
Burgess at Soundcheck at The Jazz Cafe in London in 2019
Burgess at Soundcheck at The Jazz Cafe in London in 2019
Background information
Birth nameLeroy O'Neil Jackson Jr.
Born (1953-08-20) August 20, 1953 (age 66)
New York, New York, United States
OriginHarlem, New York City
GenresR&B, disco, boogie
Occupation(s)Songwriter, record producer, vocalist, arranger, keyboardist
InstrumentsPiano, keyboards
Years active1968–present
LabelsMultiple
Associated actsBlack Ivory, Inner Life, Phreek, Aleem, Bumblebee Unlimited, Convertion, Logg, Universal Robot Band, Intrigue

Leroy Burgess (born August 20, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, keyboard player, recording artist, and record producer.

Burgess was a member of Black Ivory and lead vocalist on the majority of their hits in the early 1970s, he made his debut with the group at the age of 16.[1]

Early life[edit]

Burgess grew up in Harlem,[2] one of seven children. His mother, Myrtle Bell Burgess (a classically trained Contralto) initially disapproved of his desire to become a musician, while his father, Morgan Burgess secretly approved and supported his efforts. Burgess' Bell bloodline includes members of Kool & The Gang, Philly composer/producer/arranger Thom Bell, singer Betty Wright, singer Archie Bell and former Stax/Volt President Al Bell.[3]

Career[edit]

Black Ivory was signed by small East Coast label Today/Perception, which was run by Terry Phillips and Boo Frazier. Patrick Adams,who was A&R Director of the label was also the band's manager. Burgess frequently collaborated with Adams in writing songs.

The group scored a number of R&B hits in the 1970s, including "Don't Turn Around" (a Top 40 R&B hit released in 1969[4]), "You And I", "I'll Find A Way (The Loneliest Man In Town)", "Spinning Around", "What Goes Around (Comes Around)" and "Will We Ever Come Together". Though they recorded several uptempo tracks, such as "Big Apple Rock", "Walking Downtown (On A Saturday Night)", "What Goes Around (Comes Around)" and, later, "Mainline" (written by Burgess, but recorded after he left the group), Black Ivory faced tough competition from the rise of disco, but proved unable to compete when disco became the dominant music style. However, "Mainline" broke through the group's difficulties of creating a hit dance record and has since become an internationally revered dance classic.

As a solo artist, Burgess had numerous club hits, beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s including "Let's Do It", "Fire Night Dance", "Heartbreaker", "Stranger" and "You Got That Something".[5] Burgess chose to take a hiatus from Black Ivory in 1977, and developed several bands of his own, which include Convertion and LOGG, before joining twins TaharQa and TundeRa Aleem as their Lead vocalist Aleem, which had hits with "Confusion", "Release Yourself", and "Hooked On Your Love". A 1991 release by the band titled "Running After You" received favourable reviews on release.[6] He also continued to work with producer Adams in various studio groups. In addition to the hits he had with Aleem, Burgess was featured vocalist with Adams' groups Bumble Bee Unlimited, Logg, Inner Life (which also featured Jocelyn Brown), The Universal Robot Band, the Peter Jacques Band, Dazzle and M.O.D.E. (with whom he recorded "Heaven"), and did lead vocals on "Much Too Much" by Phreek.

"Burgess has a long and storied career in American R&B and disco".[7]

Burgess wrote and produced a substantial number of hits for other artists as well, including "Big Time"[8] for Rick James, and wrote and performed on the Bob Blank production of Fonda Rae's big hit "Over Like A Fat Rat".[9] He also sang background and played keyboard on many of the productions.[10]

He supplied vocals for the Cassius tracks "Under Influence" and "Til We Got You And Me", from their album Au Rêve.

Two CDs have been released containing his work with Black Ivory,[11][12] one of the first album and the second, consisting of their first two albums. Burgess also released two Anthology albums of his own on London's Soul Brother Records label entitled "Anthology: Volume One: The Voice" and "Anthology: Volume Two: The Producer", which chronicled his work in the 1980s.

In 2007, Burgess released Throwback: Harlem 79-83,[13] followed in 2010 by Throwback: Vol.II: Sugar Hill 82-86,[14] the first albums under his own name and most recently in 2011, Continuum,[15] the reunion album with Black Ivory.

Burgess is a contributing writer on the single, "Gettin' Up"[16] on Rapper and Musician Q-Tip's album, "The Renaissance",[17] which was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2010.

In 2019, Burgess teamed up with Louie Vega and Patrick Adams for a new project, "Louie Vega Presents Leroy Burgess & The Universal Robot Band Feat. Patrick Adams ‎– Barely Breaking Even",[18] released in September 2019

In October 2019, while on a European tour with his new band from Lyon, France called Saving Coco, group members of Black Ivory (Stuart Bascombe and Russell Patterson), joined Burgess on stage and performed for the first time together at London's Famous Jazz Cafe.[19][20] where they also received Lifetime Achievement Awards commemorating Black Ivory 50th Anniversary. In addition, Black Ivory was featured in a 13-page article in the London magazine, The Soul Survivors [21]

Burgess is a Founding Member of The National R&B Music Society Inc.[22]

Burgess still performs as a member of Black Ivory and continues to perform a solo artist with Saving Coco, overseas.[23]

Discography[edit]

As Black Ivory[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Don't Turn Around (1972) (Today Records)
  • Baby, Won't You Change Your Mind (1972) (Today Records)
  • Feel It (1975) (Buddah Records)
  • Black Ivory (1976) (Buddah Records)
  • Then and Now (1984) (Panoramic Records)
  • Continuum (2011) (SLR Records)

Singles[edit]

  • "Don't Turn Around"(1971) #38 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "You and I" (1972) #32 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "I'll Find a Way (The Loneliest Man In Town)" (1972) #46 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "Time Is Love"/"Got to Be There" (1972) #37 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "Spinning Around" (1973) #45 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "What Goes Around (Comes Around)" (1974) #44 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "Will We Ever Come Together" (1975) #40 Billboard R&B Chart
  • "Daily News"
  • "You Mean Everything to Me"
  • "Walking Downtown (Saturday Night)" (1976)
  • "You Turned My Whole World Around" (1978)

As Aleem f Leroy Burgess[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Casually Formal (1986)
  • Shock! (1987)

As solo singer[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Heartbreaker"
  • "Stranger"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Probert, Chris (January 15, 1998). "Battle of the Bands: Round One". The Globe and Mail. Canada. p. THE ARTS: MUSIC; New Recordings BLUES; Pg. D5.
  2. ^ "Leroy Burgess | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Strangesoundsfrombeyond.com Archived November 26, 2018, at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 25 November 2018)
  4. ^ "Black Ivory". Billboard.
  5. ^ "Leroy Burgess | Songs". AllMusic.
  6. ^ "Single Reviews". Billboard. May 17, 1991.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Big Time - Rick James | Song Info | AllMusic" – via www.allmusic.com.
  9. ^ "Over Like a Fat Rat - Fonda Rae | Song Info | AllMusic" – via www.allmusic.com.
  10. ^ "Leroy Burgess | Credits". AllMusic.
  11. ^ Black Ivory. "BLACK IVORY - BLACK IVORY - Anthology - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Black Ivory. "BLACK IVORY - Black Ivory / Hangin Heavy - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Leroy Burgess (August 29, 2019). "BURGESS, LEROY - Throwback: Harlem 79-83 - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Throwback II: Sugar Hill 83 - 86: Burgess, Leroy: 4250252153337: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  15. ^ Black Ivory (Artist). "Black Ivory - Continuum - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Q-Tip - Gettin' Up". Discogs.
  17. ^ https://www.allmusic. /album/the-renaissance-mw0000800992/credits
  18. ^ "Louie Vega Presents Leroy Burgess & The Universal Robot Band Feat. Patrick Adams - Barely Breaking Even". Discogs.
  19. ^ "Log In or Sign Up to View". www.facebook.com.
  20. ^ "Fitzroy" – via www.facebook.com.
  21. ^ "The Soul Survivors Magazine Issue 84 Page 10". btpubs.co.uk.
  22. ^ "Artist Roster". rnbmusicsociety1.
  23. ^ "Leroy Burgess". www.facebook.com.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]