Home » Member Page

Leo Sidran

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and podcast host.

Contact Me

Follow Leo Sidran on All About Jazz

About Me

I'm a multi instrumentalist musician, producer, arranger, composer, recording artist, and podcast host.

I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, which is sometimes referred to as 70 square miles surrounded by reality. My father, Ben Sidran, another multifaceted music man, provided my early musical sustenance. My mother, a weaver and travel agent, provided texture and safe passage.

I got my start writing songs professionally as a teenager when the Steve Miller Band recorded four of my songs for their 1993 Wide River album. My father was working with Miller at the time, which is how I made the connection, but even then, at the ripe old age of 15, I was interested in production. So, Steve invited me to play keyboards, guitars and drums on the record.

Subsequently, I attended the University of Wisconsin to study History and Spanish. During a year abroad living in Spain, I fell in love with Spanish music, and after college I spent quite a bit of time back and forth between Madison and Madrid. During that time, I developed a strong relationship with several Madrid- based “Latin alternative” artists like Jorge Drexler and Ana Laan. Years later, I co-produced the Academy Award Winning song, “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” from the film The Motorcycle Diaries for Jorge Drexler in 2005.

After the Oscar win, I made a move to Brooklyn and not only started producing records for other artists, but also composing music for film and television commercials amassing a catalog of 100s of major TV ads for clients like Coca-Cola, Visa, Lincoln, McDonalds, Stella Artois, Ford, Garnier and a dozen film scores for outlets such as ESPN 30 for 30, Discovery, IFC, Sundance, and PBS.

In addition, around this time, I started a small label called Nardis Music with my dad releasing our solo projects, as well as some projects that we produced for other artists, like Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown's original funky drummer). I have produced all of Ben Sidran's records for the last decade.

I’ve also continued to work with Latin artists, including Alex Cuba (I co-produced the Latin Grammy winning Healer album with him), Kevin Johansen (I co-produced the Latin Grammy nominated Mis Americas Vol. ½), and Marlango.

As a drummer, I’ve played and recorded with jazz luminaries including Phil Woods, Howard Levy, David Fathead Newman, Clark Terry and Dave Grusin, and as an engineer I’ve recorded projects ranging from jazz great Mark Murphy to British duo Massive Attack.

To round out my penchant for curating the music I love, I launched a podcast called The Third Story featuring interviews with musicians, producers, songwriters, and other friends in the creative class about their personal stories and professional journeys.

Finally, I’ve released six solo records. My new project “Cool School [The Music of Michael Franks]” was released in Spring, 2018.

I live in Brooklyn with my wife, our daughter, and a 12 pound poodle.

Published Articles

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it is creative expression, freedom, community and humor. I was first exposed to jazz as a young boy growing up in a "jazz house". I met so many incredible, generous musicians who made me want to be a part of their world. The first jazz record I bought was probably a John Scofield or Joshua Redman album from the early '90s. But I had a lot of records in my house growing up and my father played a lot of music for me before I started buying my own records. My advice to new listeners: don't be intimidated.

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.