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James Leslie holds the title of Artist in Residence at the University of Dayton, where he has taught since 1999. He is responsible for teaching all percussion lessons, percussion pedagogy classes, percussion ensemble, and winter drumline. Jim is also the Assistant Marching Band Director and directs the University Jazz Band. He has been a featured artist with the University of Dayton Jazz Ensemble and appears frequently on faculty recitals.
The Jim Leslie Quartet has performed more than 100 concerts in Dayton area schools as part of the Muse Machine. Students who are involved in this program are able to hear and interact with the top jazz musicians in the area. The group has performed concerts featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, and Thelonious Monk.
As a freelance drummer/percussionist, Jim has performed with the Springfield Symphony, Middletown Symphony Orchestra, Vaughn Wiester's Famous Jazz Orchestra, and the Blue Wisp Big Band, as well as many national and regional artists, such as Michael Feinstein, Debbie Boone, Boots Randolph, Bobby Watson, John Faddis, Steve March Torme, Frank Tiberi, Terell Stafford, Conrad Herwig, Don Braden, Jim Snidero, Rich Perry, Rick Margitza, Ron Jones, and Phil DeGreg. Jim also holds the drum chair in both the Dayton Jazz Orchestra, and Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers.
Jim has given many clinics and guest performances at other schools, including Indiana State University, Cedarville University, Bowling Green State University, Wright State University, Clermont College, Xavier University, and the Ohio State University (Lima campus). He has been a guest clinician at many music festivals, camps, and state conferences.
Originally from Warren, Michigan, Jim is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he was a student of the late Robert Hohner. As a 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.
Jim Leslie is an artist/clinician for Ludwig Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads, Pro-Mark drumsticks, and is a past-president of the Ohio chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.