Over the past three decades multi award winning British soul group Imagination released so many wonderful classic hits such as Body Talk, Just An illusion, Flashback, Music and Lights and Changes which helped secure Imagination s power and dominance over the charts in the 1980's with their genre defying music not only in the UK but across the world with sales in excess of over 30 million albums thus Imagination presented perfect Brit Jazz/Funk songs and establishing their position as essential 80's crossover soul-dance hit-makers and influencers for future generations of pop stars.
Even today the story of Imagination s music continues in the form of a long list of samples, remixes and adaptations by major contemporary stars. Destiny's Child (complete with Beyoncé) sampled Just An illusion on their 1998 self-titled debut album. Leee himself featured on DJ Dero's 2005 rendition of the song which was widely played in clubs. The same year saw Mariah Carey reused the track on her top ten single Get Your Number. Flashback was sampled by Boards of Canada, Music & Lights by Tiger & Woods. All Night Loving by 88 Keys featuring Kanye West.
This year sees the long-awaited new album from Imagination featuring Leee John - Retropia, which delivers a distinctive combination of soul, funk & jazz with a classic contemporary retro sound from that back in the day feel. Lee John creates a very special atmospheric sensitivity with mid-tempo grooves and that unmistakable Leee John vocal sound with those famous Imagination harmonies creating that familiar blend of melody which makes you remember each individual song, taking you on an adventure into the world of Retropia.
The album features co-writes from keyboard player of the UK R n B group Loose Ends, Steve Nichol on the songs Do it Right Now and the single Secrets which also has classic soul and jazz guitar from Jean-Paul “Bluey” Manuck of the jazz funk group Incognito.
An inspiring duet with Leee John of the Stevie wonder song Visions with keyboard and vocalist Mike Lindup from UK funk group Level 42. Leee John has produced, arranged written and co-written all the songs on the album except 3 classic cover songs , the Eddie Kendricks song Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need, the Junior Murvin song Police and Thieves, and a French collaboration with David Laloue and the Gibson Brothers on the famous AC/DC song Highway To Hell - with UK blues guitarist –Mark Vandergucht, with all the vocals given the Leee John/Imagination treatment.
Retropia was produced in London in L J Studios and mixed in Alhambra studios in Rochford, France, where Leee John recorded the critically acclaimed popular soul jazz album Feel My Soul in 2005-06, which just like the jazz album was mixed by Mr Magic Fingers Francois Gaucher. This album is dedicated to the many Imagination fans around the world as there are a few songs which Leee has performed on stage live but has never surprisingly placed on any albums before. Such as songs like the haunting Utopia, which feature the flutes and brass of UK musician Dave Mansell, piano and keyboards of John Watson who has been the musical conductor and arranger for The Leee John Jazz Quartet and the Imagination band he features on many of the titles on the album.
Other songs, like Make Your Mind Up, was co-written and arranged by Toby Baker. Fantasia was originally a white label obscure track, which became an underground classic. Other credits include Leee John’s long-time associate producer and writer-engineer Dee Vaz, who works and is responsible for many of Leee’s solo studio projects. On the ballad Hello Goodbye - from the Imagination band we have the guitar of John (Jimmy John) Myers who has worked with the famous Stock Aitken Waterman by the La Rochelle Music conservatory string section.