Jim Leslie holds the title of Artist in Residence at the University of Dayton, where he has taught since 1999. He is responsible for teaching all percussion lessons, percussion pedagogy classes, percussion ensemble, and winter drumline. Jim is also the Assistant Marching Band Director and directs the University Jazz Band. He has been a featured artist with the University of Dayton Jazz Ensemble and appears frequently on faculty recitals. In addition to his duties at UD, Jim has given many clinics and guest performances at other schools, including Indiana State University, Cedarville University, Wright State University, Clermont College, Xavier University, and the Ohio State University (Lima campus).
A passion for performing keeps Jim busy several nights a week. He is a member of Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers, featuring jazz of the '20's and '30's. This group is a festival attraction across the United States and Europe. 2009 will find the band featured at the Bix Festival in Davenport, Iowa, and the Suncoast Dixieland Jazz Festival in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The band's latest release Bi-Polar Jazz is now available.
Jim is also a member of Ed Moss' Society Jazz Orchestra, a group dedicated to playing original music with a nod to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk. The group celebrated its 25 years of existence on the recording Live at the Blue Wisp, Silver Anniversary.
The Jim Leslie Quartet has performed more than 100 concerts in Dayton area schools as part of the Muse Machine. Students who are involved in this program are able to hear and interact with the top jazz musicians in the area. The group has performed concerts featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, and Thelonious Monk.
As a freelance drummer/percussionist, Jim has performed with the Springfield Symphony, Middletown Symphony Orchestra, Vaughn Wiester's Famous Jazz Orchestra, and the Blue Wisp Big Band, as well as many national and regional artists, such as Michael Feinstein, Boots Randolph, Bobby Watson, Steve March Torme, Frank Tiberi, Terell Stafford, Jon Faddis, Conrad Herwig, Don Braden, Jim Snidero, John Fedchock, Randy Sandke, Rich Perry, Rick Margitza, Duke Heitger, Jon-Erik Kellso, Dan Levinson, Ron Jones, and Phil DeGreg. Jim also holds the drum chair in the Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Dayton's premier big band, and Ed Moss' Society Jazz Orchestra.
Originally from Warren, Michigan, Jim is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he was a student of the late Robert Hohner. As a member of The Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble, Jim can be heard on Lift Off and The Gamut, both recorded for DMP. The group also premiered David Maslanka's Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion Ensemble at the 1993 MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
Jim Leslie is an artist/clinician for Ludwig Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark drumsticks, Aquarian drumheads, and is a past-president of the Ohio chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.