Mesmerizing Percussion Voyage

Jerry Leake -  Cubist
Jerry Leake – Cubist
Jerry Leake

Cubist (Rhombus Publishing; Jan 1, 2010)

The world of percussion has a new wonder named Jerry Leake. His latest album, Cubist, is an impressive voyage through the world of global percussion that crosses genres easily. Joined by a group of excellent musicians, Leake blends his masterful technique with fascinating pieces that include world beat as well as elements of jazz and rock. “You can almost feel the characters living inside some of these creations,” Leake said of Cubist.


Unlike other percussion albums that focus on a single instrument, Cubist exposes a view of numerous instruments from all corners of the world, including numerous types of bells, gongs, cymbals, balafon, congas, bongos, orchestral concert drums, udu, tabla and konakol  (rhythmic vocal percussion from India). Cubist was recorded at Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music, where Leake to experiment and mix. The result is truly remarkable. “Everything I create is based on some integral and traceable origin,” said Leake. “I strive to add my own contemporary composing and arranging skills to find a common thread with the present into the past—a sort of future-ancient perspective where today has already become history."

Jerry Leake became interested in percussion at a young age. “I savored the discovery of connecting dots in my music to those in my life. I was able to see myself through the history of various drums and my own process of learning about each of them.” His passion for percussion led him to studies at Berklee College of Music, and later to India, various African countries, and Latin America.

Fellow percussionist Jamey Haddad, who is one of the most reputable percussionists in the United States has great things to say about Cubist: “ Cubist by percussionist/vibist/ Jerry Leake is about as eclectic an album as you can make, but it does not tread lightly. Cubist is well informed on so many fronts that it is rather staggering. Many people attempt this kind of thing by virtue of sampling bits from various diverse musical traditions; not here, Jerry plays them all.

I can relate at a certain level being an American who feels his duty is to follow his heart, but Jerry takes it a step further. Some tunes are purely in line with West Africa, some with north India and some with the Grateful Dead and more, but mostly the diverse musical ideas, forms and techniques in Mr. Leake’s head have become a very evolved and complex tasting stew. If you take the time to really check it out you will find mastery on many levels. Only devotion and constant evolution in life and music could produce " Cubist: shapes of sound & time".

Jerry Leake currently teaches at the New England Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music in Boston (Massachusetts). In addition to his recordings, he has published a collection of percussion books.

Cubist presents dazzling percussion interplay, infectious rhythms and mesmerizing musical pieces by one of the United States’ most interesting percussionists.

Buy the album: Cubist. Other recordings available: The Turning, Vibrance: Jazz Vibes & World Percussion

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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