Native New Yorker, Jan
Leder decided to pursue her love for improvisation after twelve
years of studying classical music. She studied for three years with the
late pianist Lennie Tristano and then continued her jazz
studies with pianist Connie Crothers for over ten years.
A self-styled course of study in jazz history at SUNY Purchase
led to her compilation of the first comprehensive history of women in jazz
entitled Women in Jazz: A Discography of Instrumentalists
1913-1968 (Greenwood Press 1985). Ms. Leder has
enjoyed teaching jazz improvisation, although teaching has not figured
prominently in her career.
In 1999 Jan recorded Nonchalant (A-Records
2000), a collection of mostly original melodies. The title tune was aired
on CBS' Guiding Light in December 1999. In February 1997 Monad
Records released her first CD, Passage To Freedom,
which was recorded live at the Five Spot in New York City
in the early 1990s.
Ms. Leder leads her own jazz ensembles in the New York City area,
appearing at nightclubs, festivals, cultural functions and other public
and private engagements. Her repertoire includes standard bebop, swing,
blues and bossa novas as well as her own unique jazz compositions and
those of her musical colleagues, including drummer/big band leader Art
Lillard, with whom Jan has collaborated on numerous compositions,
mostly writing lyrics to his catchy songs. Since 1987 Jan has been a
member of Mr. Lillard's 15-piece jazz band, Art Lillard's Heavenly
Band, which includes a flute section. Two of their songs, Incognito
and Conclusion Jump, appear on Art's CD Reasons
to Be Thankful (Summit Records 2006), which was
also met with excellent reviews.
Jan is a member of an exciting group of jazz flutists called the NY Jazz
Flutet. Fellow flutists Dotti Anita Taylor, Elise
Wood, Michele Smith and Chip Shelton
are joined by drummer Art Lillard in this unique ensemble
featuring a wide array of standards as well as original songs and
arrangements by all the members, played on a variety of flutes. This group
was featured at the 2006 National Flute Association's
annual conference in Pittsburgh.
In May 2002 the Int'l Association for Jazz Education
published Jan's article I Can't Give You Anything But Love,
an account of her discovery of employment as an entertainer in healthcare
facilities, in their Jazz Education Journal. In July 2003
WBGO-FM Newark aired a 6-minute documentary about her
work with seniors and the infirm, produced by jazz programmer/journalist John
J. Cooper, in their award-winning WBGO Journal.
In February 2006 Jan gave her first seminar, "Making a Living
in Music Wellness: a Workshop for Professional Performers"
at St. Peter's Church, under the auspices of the International
Women in Jazz, of which she is a long-standing member. More
workshops are anticipated, which would enable other jazz musicians to find
employment opportunities in their chosen field of jazz music performance.
In July 2003 Jan's group, with special guest vocalist Cleve
Douglas, performed at the Greater Hartford Jazz Festival
as the opening act for jazz greats Sonny Fortune and Chuck
Loeb. In 2001 she was a featured performer at the Coleman
Hawkins Neighborhood Festival in Topeka, KS.
Jan has performed extensively in fundraisers, jazz festivals (notably the Jazz
on the Hudson series presented by the Downtown Yonkers
Business Improvement Development Corporation), as well as
concerts and other local events in Westchester County, New York. She is
well-known in the county, and has enjoyed presenting musical programs for
the Westchester Arts Council, the Hudson River
Museum, the Parks Department and the Department
of Senior Programs and Services.
In April 1998 vocalist Diane Hubka released her debut CD Haven't
We Met (A-Records), which included a fine rendition of Ms.
Leder's Thinking of You. The album was nominated for a
1999 Jazz Award for "Best Recording Debut".
Jan also enjoys the honor of having been a guest on alto saxophonist Jimmy
Hill's recording Evergreens, Etc.
alongside Etta Jones and Norman Hedman.
From 1994 through 2001 Ms. Leder was a featured performer at the Yonkers
Hudson Riverfest. The 1995 performance was videotaped for
submission to BET's Jazz Discovery on cable television,
and subsequently broadcast nationally in the Video Showcase segment of the
In 1989 Ms. Leder performed Gaspe, an original tune, in Charles
Lane's film Sidewalk Stories, which premiered at
the 1989 Cannes Film Festival (her quartet also appears
in the film). Four of her compositions were awarded Certificates
of Achievement in the jazz category of the Billboard Song
Contest: Thinking of You and Inbetween the Streets
in 1989, Bebop Papi in 1991, and Survival of the
Flutist in 1994. In addition to writing jazz, Ms. Leder enjoys
composing pop, r&b, theater and film music.
In 1993-4 she worked with Chip Shelton's World Flute Orchestra,
a coming-together of the best jazz flutists in New York. In 1986 she
recorded with the Dan Krimm Quartet on Overtone Records.
And for over twenty-five years Ms. Leder has worked with the 9th
Street Stompers, a popular local jazz band, playing their unique
variety of jazz styles in parades, street fairs and other venues.
Ms. Leder is a writer and publisher member of the American Society
of Composers, Authors and Publishers and a
member of the National Association of Music Publishers.