David Leon

David Leon is a Miami-born saxophonist, woodwinds player, composer, and improviser living in Brooklyn, New York. His work is guided by a persistent search for vitality through autonomy, contradiction, hyperbole, and humor. His work with the saxophone investigates alternate methods for producing a tone, refinement of these techniques, and development of a distinct vocabulary using these sounds; he melds this timbral approach with melodic and rhythmic phrasing from Cuban folkloric traditions, narrative playing, Free Jazz & avant-garde esthetics, and microtonality to reveal a personal conceit.

David’s current projects include Bird’s Eye, a trio with Doyeon Kim and Lesley Mok which release its first recording on Pyroclastic Records, and Locomotive, a double horns-guitars-percussion trio co-led alongside Adam O’Farrill. He is a core member of multiple ensembles including Lisa Hoppe’s Third Reality, Lesley Mok: The Living Collection, Adam O’Farrill’s For These Streets & Bird Blown Out of Latitude, William Brittelle MetaSimulacrum, Vicente Hansen’s Orlando Furioso, Tal Yahalom Quintet, Aaron Quinn’s Sunchoke, and others.

His debut album, Aire de Agua (released August 2021 on Out of Your Head Records) has been praised as “a splendid debut from a young saxophone player who, starting with the right foot, promises to make a name for himself in the creative jazz scene” (Felipe Freitas, JazzTrail). He has also released two albums in the Current Obsession series that documents improvisations with current collaborators. In addition to his work as a composer and performer, David is interested in exploring irony and dissonance through puppetry and other mediums. These explorations will be documented in his upcoming performance as a Roulette 2024 Jerome Commission artist at Roulette Intermedium.

An active sideperson, David has collaborated with artists including Tomas Fujiwara, Nick Dunston, Dafnis Prieto, Ingrid Laubrock, Russell Hall, Cory Smythe, Weston Olencki, Brian Lynch, Garrett Wingfield, and others. He has performed for The Stone, Roulette Intermedium, ::SEEDS::, Barbés, Duck Creek Arts Center, National Sawdust, Spectrum, The Hollywood Bowl, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Teatro Nacional de Cuba (Havana), Arsht Center (Miami), DACAMERA (Houston), CENART (Mexico City), and notable jazz venues including The Jazz Gallery, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Cornelia Street Cafe, The Appel Room (JALC), Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, WDNA Jazz Gallery, and The Fish House. His work has been recognized by Roulette Intermedium, The Jazz Gallery, New Music USA, Metropolis Ensemble, Detroit Composer’s Project, Compositum Musicae Novae, the National Youngarts Foundation, and the ASCAP Foundation.

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