Mark Leon

Class of 1965

        

Born in Brooklyn NY, raised in talent-rich Hicksville LI, Mark “Mujel” Leon found his musical roots at age 8 after hearing his Mom singing along with the NY radio show “Make Believe Ballroom” and his Dad tapping out rhythms on tabletops, laying the groundwork for Mark’s lifelong love of rhythm and music.  He absorbed the sounds of Big Bands and great drummers, and by age 13 was playing professionally.  Mark began serious study with the great teachers Al Miller, Charlie Perry and at University of Hartford ’s Hartt College of Music, studying percussion with Alexander Lepak.  He worked the Catskills in house bands, recorded under contract to MGM Records while playing with groups such as “The Unluv’d” and “Damien,” touring extensively around the East Coast backing many notable artists, and being on the bill with such greats as B.B. King, Lana Cantrell and Stevie Wonder.  He did many recording dates for Columbia Studios and Date Records, and appearances on TV broadcasts such as ABC’s “Little Rascals Show.”  Befriending his mentors Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson, Mark was inspired to write his own teaching book entitled A Guide To Playing Contemporary Rhythms For The Modern Drummer ©1972.  With guitarist friend from Hicksville , Denny Dias, Mark worked with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on early Fagen originals, and did percussion and vocals on the first Steely Dan tour.  In 1973 Mark rolocated to LA and in 1974 joined the legendary Papa John Creach Band, touring and recording for four years, doing three albums: “Rock Father,” “Cat And The Fiddle” and “Inphasion.”  In years following, Mark recorded with Lon Osgood, the late Walt Barr’s Jazz album “East Winds” and “The Mouse That Roared” with Billy Barty, as well as playing for Burt Reynolds and Carol Burnett events.  Settling into the LA scene, Mark has made himself available for all forms of record dates, film/TV calls, commercials & jingles as well as club dates throughout California and Nevada . 

With the ability to read and execute any and every style, Mark plays in groups, with Big Bands and Orchestras such as The Noble Grandé, Ron Rubin and Jerry Katz Orchestras, as well as showcase and contemporary projects, while teaching privately, in schools and colleges.  References can be furnished from Joe Porcaro, Bob Zimmitti and Ed Greene, as well as a personal acknowledgement from the great Louie Bellson.