Born: August 22, 1977 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
Leo Ferguson, Composer & Drummer
I have been a drummer since I was 15. Born and raised in New York City to a Black jazz saxophonist and a Jewish artist from a family of classical musicians. I studied jazz theory, performance, the history of African-American composers and mallet percussion at Hampshire College and Amherst College under the legendary Yusef Lateef, as well as Margo Simmons and Andrew Jaffe. Although I quickly fell in love with writing music, I started composing largely out of frustration. I felt hemmed in by jazz that was often formulaic or stultifyingly anachronistic and a classical tradition that was incapable of addressing or integrating the experiences of African- Americans (let alone bi-racial Black/Jewish kids).
I want to swing. I want to think and feel. And I want to play music that feels like it belongs in the 21st Century, not in a gauzy past.
My music is at once accessible and cerebral, deeply personal, intuitively resonant and sometimes funny. Sacrificing nothing, it incorporates the compositional rigor, specificity and ambition of contemporary classical composition and the landscape of personal narrative and blues conception mapped by 20th Century Black music. I use the abstraction of music to drill down into highly specific ideas and experiences in my life.
Did I mention it swings?
Leo Ferguson Ensemble
Man On Wire; Driving/Dress; 3 Variation; Slower Atmospheres; Armageddon.
Personnel: Leo Ferguson: Drums. Stacy Dillard: Tenor Sax. Alex Carter: Tenor Sax. Emma Alabaster: Bass Alexis Marcelo: Piano. Heather Hall: Piano. Batya Sobel: Oboe & Alto Recorder. Megan Marolf: Oboe. Mark Nikirk: Clarinet & Flute. Philip Engel: Trombone. Ben Brody: Horn in F. Rex Benincasa: Glockenspiel. Recorded at The Bunker Studio by Aaron Nevezie
Leo Ferguson with...
Little Bursts; Seduction; Late Nite with Liz; Incitement; N'igga; N'ofay.
Personnel: Leo Ferguson: Drums. Shanir Blumenkranz: Bass. Hilary Cameron: Piano. Daniel Carter: Tenor Saxophone. Batya Sobel: Oboe. Margo Simmons: Flute. Claire DeBrunner: Bassoon. Recorded at Context Studios by Craig Chin.
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