Biography & Career
James Leslie coordinates the Jazz and Percussion areas at the University of Dayton, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1999. In addition to overseeing all percussion lessons, classes, and ensembles, Mr. Leslie is also the Associate Marching Band Director and directs the University Jazz Band. He performs in the UD Faculty Jazztet, appears frequently on faculty recitals, and is in demand as a clinician and guest performer.
James is a full-time member of the Blue Wisp Big Band, The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers. As a freelance drummer/percussionist, James has performed with The Stan Kenton Alumni Band, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Harry James Orchestra, Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony, Midland Symphony, Middletown Symphony Orchestra, as well as many national and international artists, such as Michael Feinstein, Debbie Boone, Regis Philbin, Don Rickles, Steve March-Torme, Harry Allen, James Carter, Boots Randolph, Bobby Watson, Terell Stafford, Wessel “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Conrad Herwig, Don Braden, Jim Snidero, John Fedchock, Kevin Eubanks, and Rick Margitza.
Originally from Warren, Michigan, James is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he was a student of the late Robert Hohner. As a founding member of The Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble, Jim can be heard on Lift Off and The Gamut, both recorded for DMP. The group also premiered David Maslanka’s Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion Ensemble at the 1993 MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
James Leslie is a past-president of the Ohio chapter of PAS, and an artist/clinician for Ludwig/Musser, Remo Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, and Prologix Practice Pads.