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Leo Sidran

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.

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Leo Sidran: Conversation Artist

Read "Leo Sidran: Conversation Artist" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

For music lovers, listening to music is often not only about the music. An album is much more than a vessel of beautiful chords, notes and lyrics. It offers mission statements, “how to" manuals, and blueprints for life strategies. Each song a trap-door it is impossible not to sneak into, in search for insights on how to handle our everyday existence. Each musician's career a collection of case studies in the art of perseverance. Your boss has been bombarding you ...

Radio & Podcasts

What's Trending

Read "What's Trending" reviewed by Leo Sidran

This week on the Third Story Podcast I'm turning the tables on myself and sharing the stories and the creative process behind my new record What's Trending. Featuring excerpts of past episodes with artists who collaborated on the record and inspired the songs, including Boz Scaggs, Louis Cato, Janis Siegel, Michael Leonhart, Peter Coyote and more. ...

Radio & Podcasts

The Art Of Aging Gracefully Through Music

Read "The Art Of Aging Gracefully Through Music" reviewed by Leo Sidran

Advice from friends and family ranging in age from 10 to 93 about how to stay young, what makes a meaningful life, ambition, desire, fear, success and music. With Sol Sidran age 10, Zelta Sils age 10, Zane Gruber Baruth age 21, Michael Thurber age 34, Michael Leonhart age 47, Jorge Drexler age 57, Daniel Levitin age 63, Gil Goldstein age 71, Ben Sidran age 78, Howard S. Becker age 93. ...

Meet the Staff

Meet Leo Sidran

Read "Meet Leo Sidran" reviewed by AAJ Staff

About Leo Leo Sidran is a Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, arranger, composer, recording artist, and podcast host. After playing professionally as a teen-ager with the legendary Steve Miller Band he established himself as a versatile artist, as much at ease as a band-leader (with six albums in his discography) as he is producing other musicians domestically and abroad (in 2005 he co-produced the Academy Award Winning song, “Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from the film The Motorcycle Diaries for ...

Radio & Podcasts

Stop Me If You've Heard It Before: Musicians Telling Jokes

Read "Stop Me If You've Heard It Before: Musicians Telling Jokes" reviewed by Leo Sidran

What do we need right now in these adverse times? We turn to our spirit guides, our philosopher kings, our rabbis: the musicians. Because although this particular form of adversity is new, musicians have been choosing to feel good in spite of adverse conditions for a long time. In this episode, we explore the nature of the musician joke, particularly the jazz musician joke. Jokes about gigs, drummers, singers, trombone players, viola players, junkies, 3 legged pigs, bagpipes, ...

Album Review

Ben Sidran: Don't Cry for No Hipster

Read "Don't Cry for No Hipster" reviewed by Luca Muchetti

'Stile' è il primo sostantivo che viene facile utilizzare per descrivere la musica di Ben Sidran. Nome notissimo nella scena americana, cantante, pianista, compositore e fine conoscitore della musica in toto (evitiamo di utilizzare l'etichetta 'jazz' memori anche del non troppo lontano album in tributo a Bob Dylan), con Don't Cry for no Hipster Sidran torna alle atmosfere fumose a lui più care: quattordici canzoni, tante, trovano spazio in un'opera che guarda alla tradizione, intimismi da jazz club e puntate ...

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