Leon Patillo

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Christian singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Leon Patillo got his start in the professional music business when he fronted a band called Creation in the San Francisco area in the late '60s and early…
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Christian singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Leon Patillo got his start in the professional music business when he fronted a band called Creation in the San Francisco area in the late '60s and early '70s. The band, which eventually became known as Leon's Creation, was a multi-racial funk-pop outfit somewhat in the Sly & the Family Stone mold, and featured Patillo on keyboards, Jimmy Calhoun on bass, Barry Frost on percussion, Billy Gerst on trumpet, Lenny Goldsmith on additional keyboards, Gerry Peterson on reeds, Carol Stallings on violin, and Orlando Stallings on guitar. Leon's Creation released a trio of independent LPs and was signed at one point to Atlantic Records. Patillo joined Santana in 1973, and his vocals and piano work were featured on 1974's Borboletta album and the live Festival, which was released in 1976. Patillo toured with the band until 1979, when he left Santana for a solo career, signing with Word Records. Meshing dance, R&B, soul, and gospel into an influential contemporary Christian music context, Patillo released several albums on Word, including Don't Give In (1981), I'll Never Stop Lovin' You (1982), Live Experience (1983), The Sky's the Limit (1984), and A Funny Thing Happened (1986). He also hosted a television show, Leon and Friends, which ran on TBN. Since 1999 he has been performing worldwide as part of the Get Motivated conferences, and has worked to develop his own ministry. He formed his own record label, Positive Pop, and released two new albums in 2005, Breathe on Me and Live Experience 2, which was recorded at Crossroads Community Church in Las Vegas, NV. Aside from his solo records and his work with Santana, Patillo has also worked with Funkadelic and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. An ordained Christian minister, he continues to explore avenues that bring music and the Christian experience together.