Jerry Leake is co-founder of the acclaimed world-music ensemble Natraj, whose four recordings feature his diverse percussion talents. He also co-founded and performs with Club d'Elf, R.A.R.E, Moksha, BodyGrooves, and the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society. He is featured on dozens of CDs and has released several CDs of his own music. On tabla, he has accompanied Ali Akbar Khan, Steve Gorn, Sharafat Ali Khan, Kumkum Sanyal, Chitravena Ravikiran, Peter Row, Purnima Sen, and kathak dancer Gretchen Hayden.
He has toured with Persian masters, Shahram and Hafez Nazeri; ongoing performances with flamenco virtuoso, Juanito Pascual; with Natraj: JazzYatra, Bombay, India; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Lake George Jazz Weekend, NY; PANAFEST, Accra and Cape Coast, Ghana; Oberlin College, OH; Prayojana Festival, Bangalore and Chennai, India; India-50 Celebration, Hatch Shell, MA; Guelph Jazz Festival, ON; New Year's Portland ME; Festival of Black Music, MA; Saranac Lake Concerts, NY; U. of Texas, TX; Portsmouth Jazz Weekend, NH; Tsai Performance Center, MA; CB's 313 Gallery, NY; Asian American Creative Music Festival, MA; CAV, RI; Institute of Technology, MA; Musikfest, PA; First Night, MA; Boston Globe Jazz Festival, MA; Community Arts Series, MA; Academy of Indian Performing Arts; MA; Anthony's Southside, PA; Norwood Village Green Concerts, NY; Cambridge River Festival, MA; L/A Arts, ME; First Night Hartford, CT; Regattabar Jazz Festival, MA; Waterfront Park Concert Series, MA; Columbia University, NY; Moses Greeley Parker Concert Series, MA; Peabody Essex Museum, MA; Bowdoin College, ME; Berklee Performance Center, MA; MIT Kresge Auditorium w/Hands On’Semble, MA; Jacob’s Pillow, MA; Jordan Hall, MA; Jothi Raghavan’s Karnatak Theater Company, MA; Cultural Constructions, MA; David Maxwell Ensemble; Bob Moses; George Schuller; Les Miserables Brass Band, MA; Natalie Twigg Arts Foundation, MO; solo performance: Live Music Week, Emerson College Radio (WERS), MA; With Club d'Elf: performances with John Medesky, Hassan Hakmoun, Mat Maneri, Brahim Fribgane, Bob Moses, Dave Tronzo, Duke Levine, Randy Roos, Gerry Leonard, Kenwood Denard.
Jerry has been a guest lecturer at the U. of Wisconsin, U. of S. Maine, Gordon Col., Salem State Col., B.U., U. of Amherst, North Hampton Col., Dartmouth Univ., MIT, Harvard Univ., Holy Cross Col., Boston Col., Emerson Col., master class with Bob Becker (NEC) • In Chennai, India at Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya School of Karnatak music; Kalekshetra Dance Foundation; two-day workshop and performance (sponsored by the U.S. Consulate) with the National Folklore Support Center and the Tamil theatre group “Koothu-p-Pattarai.” Program included live 2 hr. radio performance of solo percussion.
Jerry graduated from the Berklee College of Music where he studied jazz vibraphone with Gary Burton and hand percussion with Pablo Landrum. He studied tabla in Pune, India with Rajiv Devasthali, and studies in Boston with Todd Nardin and Koashal Anand. In Chennai, India, Jerry studied Karnatic rhythm theory and mridangam with T. K. Ramakrishnan. He continues to study African music with Dolsi-Naa Abubakari Luna of the Dagomba tradition (northern Ghana) and has studied Ewe music (southern Ghana) with Godwin Agbeli and David Locke, and balafon/djembe with the Coulibaly family in Burkina Faso. He has written eight widely used texts on North Indian, West African, Latin American percussion, and rhythm theory.
Jerry is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music and Tufts University, and is substitute teacher for Jamey Haddad at Berklee. He teaches a summer graduate course on world percussion at the University of Southern Maine, and directed a 6-day rhythm theory seminar at the New England Conservatory in 2002. He presents percussion clinics and solo concerts throughout New England. Jerry is former president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and has been a composer and member of the Portland Symphony Kinder Koncert percussion ensemble since 1984.