Leon Lee Dorsey

About Me

Leon Lee Dorsey was born March 12, 1958 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a family that was plugged in to the Steel City’s storied jazz lineage. He began studying piano in third grade and switched to classical cello studies with members of Pittsburgh Symphony at the famed Center for the Musically Talented (4th -12th grade), picking up electric bass in the seventh. In high school, Dorsey would be drawn to the double bass, having always loved the instrument.   He attended Oberlin College Conservatory, graduating with double degrees in 1981. Under the tutelage of bass legend Richard Davis, he received his first masters at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received a second masters upon arriving in New York from the Manhattan School of Music. He pursued doctoral studies at the City University of New York under Ron Carter, finishing his doctorate at Stony Brook University.   In 1986, Dorsey began a two-year stint with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra (including performances with Frank Sinatra and visits to the White House) which honed his skills for his next endeavor, namely as a Jazz Messenger — joining Art Blakey's most fabled of jazz finishing schools, leaving a lasting impact on his future career.   Since arriving in New York he has performed and recorded with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Hilton Ruiz, Cassandra Wilson, James Carter, Freddie Hubbard, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dorsey released his acclaimed debut album, The Watcher, in 1995. He followed it up with 1999's Song of Songs. In 2003, he founded Leon Lee Dorsey Studios in New York City, at which more than 100 albums have since been produced.   Dorsey is also prominent as a jazz educator. From 2008 to 2011, he was Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Director of the Jazz Seminar at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, he teaches harmony and jazz arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He looks forward to working with the DSC Band and hopes to be announcing performance dates soon.

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