Creative Lives Lecture Series, I
Tuesday, October 13
Day of event: $20/person
Monday, October 12
Leon Frison is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and trumpet at 9. He has always had a love for music. Being the son of a pastor, he was surrounded by the sounds of Gospel music.
His junior high/middle schoolteacher and mentor, Cecil DuValle, introduced him to jazz. Cecil taught Leon how to read and play chords on the piano, and also encouraged him to compose and arrange. At the young age of 14 years old, Leon played on his first recording session with Gabriel Hardeman, a physical education teacher, who directed the school’s gospel choir. Leon excelled on the trumpet and was the only junior high school trumpet player in the All Philadelphia Concert Band.
He is a graduate of the Overbrook High School Music Magnet Program where he played in the concert band, and jazz band orchestra. Leon continued to record as a high school student. While in high school, he was a recipient of a scholarship from Philadelphia International Records to study a course at Temple University on the Business of Music. Leon co-wrote, arranged and produced a recording that was recorded at the prestigious Sigma Sound Studios as a culminating activity for the course. His work on the project was noticed by Kenny Gamble and landed him an opportunity to produce a number of demos for Mighty Three Music Publishing Company.
Leon is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Performing Arts where he played and composed for the school’s jazz band. He had the honor of directing the jazz band for one of his choreographed pieces, which was performed at the Shubert Theater. During this time, he was also hired by Savoy Records to arrange strings and horns for a few recordings.
He has played, recorded, and/or arranged music for Rev. James Cleveland, The Williams Brothers, Wagner Alumni Choir, Chuck Jackson, The Tymes, and Jean Carne. He has been sought after to play for Ray Charles, The O’Jays, Bob Hope and Suzanne Summers.
He loves his job as director of bands at Kent County Middle School. His aim is to teach in a way that the students become focused on making beautiful music and are rewarded by the joy the audience experiences from the student’s efforts.