Leon Anderson, Jr., Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies, joined the Florida State University faculty in 1998. His musical experience includes that of a classical and jazz percussionist, educator, clinician, and composer. Mr. Anderson earned the B.A. degree in Music Education at Louisiana Tech University and the M.A. degree in Percussion Performance at Southeastern Louisiana University. His mentors have included Ellis Marsalis, Willis Delony, and Victor Goines of the New Orleans jazz scene, as well as the late bassist Ben Tucker. Mr. Anderson currently teaches drum set, jazz ensembles, jazz combo, and jazz history at the FSU College of Music.
In 1997 Mr. Anderson was a featured soloist with The Marcus Roberts Trio’s performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, and he was the selected drummer for the “Great Saxophone Legends” concert at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, featuring Jimmy Heath, David Sanchez, Javon Jackson and Red Holloway.
Anderson also has performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in roles of drummer and percussionist. Additionally, he has performed with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra with the Ellis Marsalis Trio; National Orchestra de France with the Marcus Roberts Trio conducted by Seiji Ozawa; Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia Italy; Ingolstadt Jazztage in Ingolstadt Bavaria; Switzerland Jazz Festival in Basel, Switzerland; North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Ascona Jazz Festival in Ascona, Switzerland.
His professional recordings include Victor Goines’ Joe’s Blues (1998), Marcus Roberts’ Cole After Midnight Vol. 1 (1998); To Those We Love So Dearly (1999) with Victor Goines; Sunrise to Midnight (2000) The Victor Goines Quartet; Five By Design’s Club Swing (2001); Richie Summa’s Tear It Down (2001); Etienne Charles’ Culture Shock (2006); David Detweiler’s New York Stories (2009); Melvin Jones’ (Grammy nominated) Pivot, (2011); Larry Panella’s The Gestures Project (2012); and Joy Road Vol 2 (The Complete Works of Pepper Adams) with the Kevin Bales Quartet (2017).
His professional collaborations include performances with numerous artists: David Sanchez, Red Holloway, Donald Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Mike Wolf, Nathen Page, Allan Harris, Stephanie Nakasien, Phyllis Hyman, Barry Greene, Dianne Reeves, Harold Baptiste, Donald Harrison, Mary Stallings, Judy Collins, Wessell Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Kent Jordan, Oliver Lake, James Moody, Deborah Brown, Rufus Reid, Henry Mancini, Art Farmer, Jason Marsalis, Eric Reed, Sean Jones, Oliver Lake, Delfeayo Marsalis, Victor Goines, Ellis Marsalis, Lou Donaldson, Hank Jones, Ben Tucker, Terence Blanchard, Bunky Greene, Carmen Bradford, Byron Stripling, Jon Faddis, Rodney Whitaker, Terrell Stafford, Marcus Printup, Larry Panella, Melvin Jones, Mace Hibbard, Gary Motley, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Batiste, and many others.
Mr. Anderson has also performed at the International Association of Jazz Education Conference with Bunky Green, Ellis Marsalis and the New Orleans Jazz All-Stars, and has served as an artist/clinician for several jazz festivals in the United States, including the Bill Evans Jazz Festival; Savannah Music Festival (Swing Central Jazz); Loyola University (New Orleans) Jazz Festival; Governor’s Honors Jazz Camp; Broward County All-City Jazz Ensemble; “Jazz in the Schools” program in Jacksonville, FL; Florida Music Educators All-State Jazz Ensemble; Louisiana Music Educators All-State Jazz Ensemble, and numerous All-County Jazz Ensembles throughout the state of Florida.
Anderson has also been featured in a review of the jazz composition “Afro Blue” for the text Teaching Music Through Jazz (December, 2007) and an article entitled “JazzEd Scene” by Steve MacQueen, published in Research and Review (Vol. XIV, No. III, Fall, 2004). He also occupies the drum chair in The Jazz Orchestra at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Florida.
At FSU, Anderson continues to implement innovative ways in an effort to enhance and expand the Jazz Program. Since its inception, the program has grown exponentially and yielded numerous successful students, many of whom have solidified careers nationally in Jazz performance and education.