Book and CD Reviews


"This is a monumental work! The first half of this book deals with Mr. Leake's philosophy of life and how it relates to his ongoing musical journey, while the second half is a transcribed culmination of his time living and studying in West Africa and India. Two accompanying CDs correspond to the notated second half of the book and clearly define all the rhythmic components and vocalizations of the many beats. Mr. Leake conveys the essence of his studies when speaking of the importance of instrument tuning in Indian music, and getting to the "heart of your drum," a relaxed yet focused inner approach to African drumming. Above all, I was impressed with a short chapter on strategic breathing; more natural breath intake is suggested for general well-being and ultimately better music performance. 5 STARS!"
David Licht
Modern Drummer Magazine, August 2005

"Jerry Leake's presentation of the Karnatic rhythmic Solfege is an amazing opening to the world of rhythm. It's organized and made easily understandable while it also stimulates your own imagination to apply and make up your own exercises. Studying this material will help the student develop a stronger sense of the basic pulse and perform more complex sub-divisions. It will also help the student hear and understand what goes on in an ensemble setting in ANY style from jazz to Latin to classical. These studies will inspired me tremendously both the performer and the composer. Most highly recommended for both students and educators."
Bruno Råberg
Bassist/composer and Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music


"This is an intimate visit to West Africa with drummer Jerry Leake, who, in his quest for knowledge, has gone so far as to live with families of drummers in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Amazing musical doors are opened here, and many concepts are discussed, including how to apply African rhythms to the drumset."
David Licht
Modern Drummer Magazine, December, 2004


"Jerry Leake has organized and demonstrated the classical form of playing North Indian Tabla and the language that accompanies the lessons in a completely thorough manner. I myself would have trouble learning from a book, but his knowledge of West African and western music help him convey the important points to keep in mind. My students who study this material privately with Jerry go on to incorporate the materials in an extremely musical and personal or individual fashion. To me that alone says a lot about a teacher."
Jamey Haddad
Percussionist, teacher

"Jerry Leake has written the best book on tabla I have ever seen. I recommend it to all of my students."
Swapan Chaudhuri
Director of Percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA and in Basil, Switzerland.
Faculty member at the California of the Arts in Los Angeles.

"AIM Series Two offers the student deep and supportive guidance through the journey of learning tabla and North Indian rhythm. The new edition packs in a significant wealth of material, from repertoire through to theoretical sections. Jerry's personal anecdotes give the reader a feeling that the author not only knows but also loves this material with a passion."
Jonathan Dimond
Instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger


Leake teaches percussion with an insatiable desire to span the world, writes books about it, and produces CDs that could function as textbooks. Although vibraphone is front and center here, his credits include a couple dozen other percussion objects from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The only other players are Jonathan Dimond on electric bass and Lisa Leake on vocals. Lots of everything here and Leake has an interesting approach to vibes.
Tom Hull on the Web (2/18/08)

This CD covers a multitude of moods and emotions. It's fascinating that one musician is responsible for so much of the music on the disc. The range of instruments generates a lot of color, it doesn't make any difference if it's Part I or Part II. Part II swings a little more, but otherwise this is a lot of music with a lot of taste. Thanks for all your support. We look forward to your next release.
Bob Snyder, Jazz Programmer
WRST FM, Oshkosh, WI (2/4/08)

Thank you for sending us your recent Jerry Leake CD, "Vibrance." It has started to get airplay here at WRUW-FM on world music and freeform shows. Thank you for whatever help you can give us in presenting new and interesting music to the greater Cleveland area.
Wade Tolleson
Assistant Music Director - WRUW-FM
Cleveland, OH 44106

Top 10 Jazz for the week of February 9, 2008
1. Jerry Leake, Vibrance: Jazz Vibes & World Percussion, S/R
2. Carmen Lundy, Come Home, Afrasia
3. Billie Holiday, Remixed & Reimagined, Legacy
4. Keefe Jackson's Project Project, Just Like This, Delmark
5. Miles Davis, The Complete On The Corner Sessions, Legacy
6. Grazyna Auguscik, Live Sounds Live, GMA
7. Jason Kao Hwang, Stories Before Within, Innova
8. Jason Lindner, Live at the Jazz Gallery, Anzic
9. Out to Lunch, Excuse Me While I Do The Boogaloo, Accurate
10. Kenia, Simply Kenia, Mooka
Mike "Buzz" Bereiter
WMSE Radio

Just wanted to let you know that your album has been quite a hit here!
Emma Smith, World/Jazz Music Director
KLC Radio - Lewis and Clark College
Portland, Oregon 97219

Thanks so much for sharing Vibrance with us. We enjoyed it. I'll definitely be spinning a few for you on my live program in the NY Metro in the near future.
Lise Avery
Executive Producer
Anything Goes!! with Lise Avery
Internationally Syndicated Radio

Member of the New England Conservatory and graduate of the Berklee School of Music makes smooth jazz with innumerable percussion instruments.
Clara, Program Director
WLUR 91.5 FM


This is a truly unique recording that blends the styles and music of India, Africa, the Middle East, and America. Leake is a master of many instruments comfortably transitioning from riq to four-mallet jazz vibraphone. The listener is taken on a musical journey as one track may include balafon, udu,and tabla, and the next track will be solo vibraphone. Many of the tracks on this disc are creations by Leake himself, who plays all parts via separate tracking of each instrument, while others are jazz standards by Miles Davis and Bill Evans. Highlights of the disc include "Invisible Dancer," a solo for riq, and the opening track, "Woodwork," which includes impressive four-mallet playing on balafon accompanied by cajon, shakers and clave. Leake's recording will be appealing to percussion enthusiasts as well as world music buffs.
Scott Herring
Percussive Notes Magazine, June, 2007

Besides vibraphone, Jerry Leake plays a wide array of percussion instruments on this ambitious session… Of course, the exotic timbres mean something special to Leake and his audience: they provide the impetus for his creative improvisation. Leake is a percussionist through and through… This album expands upon the concept of percussionist as rhythm-maker, and features Leake in various melodic and harmonic roles. The riq, a traditional tambourine from the world of Arabic music, gives "Invisible Dancer" a thorough shaking free, while the tabla gives "Peshkar" a mesmerizing hold. Leake expands upon traditional rhythms to bring improvised music a welcome treat.
Jim Santella
Jazz Improv Magazine, 2007

Jerry Leake plays many unique world percussion instruments on this CD blending authentic rhythms and timbres from around the world in the spirit of each culture. The performance is outstanding, accurate, intense, but remains relaxed and grooving. I'm listening repeatedly hoping to internalize this intriguing music and the emotions it evokes. I highly recommend "The Turning".
Dave Weigert, Professor, Berklee College of Music
Author: "Jazz Workshop for Bass and Drums"

Jerry Leake has put out the definitive album for things you hit with hands and sticks. The fact that he uses instruments from the world over makes it impossible to regionalize the sound, yet it sounds rooted in tradition because the initial rhythms are classic. The intrigue is furthered by his interesting choice of instruments, creating a sound that at times sounds grounded and abstract at the same time. I would classify this as New World Rhythm, if that means anything! It's a beautiful undefinable journey into rhythm.
Austin Hill
XM Satellite Radio's "P.O.T.U.S. 2008" Channel

For a percussion album, The Turning has plenty of changes to keep things interesting, and from start to finish the combinations work. Recommended for any world percussion fan's library.
Scott Allan Stevens
Earball Media

I fell in step/love/sync with it right away.
Roberta Hilliger
World Music, KTEQ

Internationally recognized percussionist Jerry Leake sought to create entirely new sounds with traditional Indian and African instruments and rhythms. Each piece begins with a singular rhythm that is expanded with the use of a new rhythm, instrument or technique. Combined with Leake speaking and/or singing drum rhythms, the result is a vibrant, contemporary take on the traditional repertoire. There are some original compositions by Leake as well as arrangements of both traditional tribal songs and a few jazz classics.

The title track of the album, "The Turning" features a mixing of African and Indian instruments. The inclusion of the Indian tabla, as Leake is shown with in the picture above, in this African rhythm is very rewarding. Leake has been called one of the greatest non-Indian tabla players, and the examples here do not refute the statement. The tabla rhythms blend with those played on the balafon and sogo drum to create a thickly harmonized sound.

It would take many hours of listening to dissect each piece into its separate components and analyze each one individually. Each track is indefinitely unique and showcases Leake's proficiency in all areas. There is never a dull moment and the energy level is always high. Even without prior knowledge of these styles and instruments, this album is quite enjoyable to listen to.
Lorelei Clarke

Jerry Leake's expertise centers on West Africa and North India, although his appetite for percussion instruments seems endless: he lists 42 of them in his credits, with vibraphone, balafon, metallophones, and tabla most prominent. The pieces are a mix of traditional themes (mostly African or Indian), elaborations, and jazz pieces (Bill Evans is favored). Several songs employ voice, which plays out as another form of talking drum. There's a bit of extra guitar on one track, bass on two, but the 22 tracks are mostly solo. The result is like an encyclopedia -- a set of experiments, all interesting, some quite enchanting.
Tom Hull on the Web

Wow! What a great polyrhythmic percussive workout!
Tarkus Kayoa
KEOL, East Oregon University

I just returned from a Fulbright Fellowship in the Philippines and received your cd. It is amazing and I enjoyed it greatly, including the wonderful adaptations you did for Ghanaian drumming and Indian solkattu. I especially enjoyed the time cycles in 10 and 13 beats, very inspiring.
Royal Hartigan
Percussionist, Author, Scholar

Your CD was excellent. It was so creative and I love the xylophone stuff. Your vibe playing is awesome too. Great job.
Joe Galeota
Faculty, Berklee College of Music

Excellent! We will definitely spin it!
Scott Stevens
World Music Director, KAOS Olympia Community Radio

It is beautiful!
Harish Dang
Sounds of India, WRCA Radio


"World class percussionist Jerry Leake, of Natraj and Club D'Elf, has produced his solo CD of percussion vignettes that illuminates the path of world music across the globe...Jerry leads the listener on a mysterious journey through ancient cultures and modern technology."
Windjam Records

"Jerry Leake of Rhombus Publishing has an excellent new CD of "percussive vignettes" called Bu-ahbl."
Interworld Music