Aaron Copland School of Music Faculty

   Leon Dorsey (Adjunct Professor)

Fields of Study:
Bass

Degrees and Studies:
D.M.A., City University of New York

Biographical Information:
Since coming to New York in 1984 bassist Leon Lee Dorsey has played, toured and recorded in virtually every array of style and idiom. Upon completing his bachelors in Double Bass from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and his Masters of Music from University of Wisconsin at Madison with Richard Davis he set his sights on New York.

Leon Lee Dorsey's fluid and ubiquitous bass has energized Jazz Masters Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, as well as Grammy winning Jazz Vocalist Cassandra Wilson. In addition he has performed under the baton of conducting legends Lukas Foss and Robert Fountain. In September 1999 he made his classical solo recital debut at Lincoln Center.

A composer and arranger, he has performed with jazz luminaries that include: George Benson, Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Branford Marsalis, Horace Silver, Ornette Coleman, Ricky Ford, Kenny Barron, Kenny Clarke, Walter Davis, Jr., Jon Faddis, Sweets Edison, Oliver Jackson, Benny Bailey, Jon Hendricks, Hank Crawford, „Wild Bill" Davis, Mike Longo, Stanley Turrentine, Al Grey, Ellis Marsalis, Candido, Kirk Lightsey, Pete Yellin, Bobby Rosengarden, Jimmy Ponder, Ricky Ford, Ken McIntyre, Paquito D'Rivera, Norris Turney, Richard Wyands, Don Alias, Terry Gibbs, Larry Willis, Lenny White, Bobby Watson, Diane Reeves, Geri Allen, Stanley Jordan, Manhattan Transfer, Neena Freelon, New York Voices, Kevin Mahogany, Vanessa Rubin, Leon Thomas, Harry Connick, Jr., Kenny Garrett, James Carter, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton. He has also performed in big bands of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Benny Carter, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Charlie Persip's Superband.

Other career highlights include working with Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall, guest appearances at the White House under Presidents Reagan and Clinton and performing with Joe Williams and the operatic diva Marilyn Home.

Bassist/Composer/Arranger Leon Lee Dorsey is indeed a triple-threat, handling bass-playing, composing and arranging tasks with equal aplomb. Never have these gifts been more abundantly evident than on his latest CD release, "Song Of Songs". Joined by Bryan Carrott-vibes, Carlton Holmes-piano, and Vincent Ector- drums, Dorsey and his intuitive cohorts take the listener on an adventure through nine tracks that alternately shine, soothe, smolder and burn, all while swinging incessantly as well as maintaining a supreme sense of melody throughout.

He has graced jazz festivals throughout the world and recorded with Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, Arthur Prysock, Freddie Hubbard, Dakota Staton and numerous other jazz artists. Completing his Doctorate in Classical Double Bass under the distinguished Ron Carter at the Graduate Center of City University of New York with, Dorsey holds Masters Degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Manhattan School of Music and two Bachelor of Music Degrees from Oberlin College. Although his talents encompass the entire spectrum of music, jazz is this exciting young man first love. Says Dorsey, "Jazz requires the highest level of knowledge, study and training across the board". Holding his convictions, Dorsey says he owes it all to God.

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