Jerry Leake

photo: Purpleganesh

Jerry Leake is a Professor of World Percussion at Berklee College of Music, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and the New England Conservatory (Jazz and CMA). He leads the world-rock-fusion band Cubist whose albums feature his skill as a composer, arranger, and performer. He is a co-founder of the Indo/Jazz band Natraj and the dub/trance/groove collective Club d’Elf.

Leake graduated from Berklee College of Music where he studied jazz vibraphone with Gary Burton and Ed Saindon, and hand percussion with Pablo Landrum. He studied tabla in Pune, India with Rajeev Devasthali, and in Boston with Todd Nardin and Koashal Anand. He has also benefited from his close association with sarod master and scholar, George Ruckert, and renowned sitarist, Peter Row. In Chennai, India, Leake studied Carnatic rhythm theory and mridangam with T. K. Ramakrishnan.

Leake studied African music with Alhaji Dolsi-Naa Abubakari Luna of the Dagomba tradition (northern Ghana). He also studied the Ewe music of southern Ghana with David Locke (Tufts), Godwin Agbeli and his sons (Ghana), and balafon/djembe with the Coulibaly family in Burkina Faso.

Leake has taught lectures and performed with Danilo Perez and Wayne Shorter at the Panama Jazz Festival. On tabla, he has accompanied sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan for his lecture/concert series in Boston, and has presented several performances for the renowned LearnQuest Academy Music Conference.

He is former president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and was a composer and member of the Portland Symphony Kinder Koncert percussion ensemble from 1984–2010. His Harmonic Time rhythm method was featured in a 2011 TEDx talk.

Leake has written eight widely used texts on world percussion and rhythm theory, numerous articles for PAS Magazine, and manuals for adapting African and Indian concepts to drumset.


Ragamala Paintings Alive!

Release Date: October 13, 2023
Catalog Number: BR8983
21st Century
Composed by Phil Scarff and performed by world-jazz ensemble Natraj, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! shines a contemporary light on historic artwork from India. The members of Natraj individually and collectively bring a wealth of experience exploring the intersection of jazz and global musical traditions. Their stunning performance showcased in this release is wide ranging, deep, and accessible, while firmly rooted in the rich tapestry of Indian classical music. RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! is part of a larger multimedia work created in collaboration with Indian classical dancer Jayshree Bala Rajamani, incorporating dance, music, spoken word, and projected images. It brings to life historic ragamala paintings, with each painting representing one Indian classical raga or melodic framework. Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky and his iconic work, Pictures at an Exhibition, Scarff threads the suite together with musical “promenades” that represent the viewer entering and moving about an art gallery, with each theme anticipating a painting or set of paintings to come. Whether heard on its own or experienced as a full multimedia performance, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! takes listeners on a compelling contemporary journey that celebrates classic ragamala paintings from India.