Leon Joyce Jr., a native of Meriden, Connecticut, received his musical training through private instruction under John Oblon and Jimmy Rozelle. While still in high school, he toured Connecticut and Massachusetts with the Greater Hartford Community College Theater Group, performing the Broadway musical “Hair”. Although Leon’s musical career began in high school, it really was shaped and nurtured when he joined the Marine Corps in 1976. In the years that followed, he served as a field band musician in Marine Corps Bands in San Diego, CA – Iwakuni, Japan – Camp Lejeune, NC – New Orleans, LA – Parris Island, SC – Okinawa, Japan – El Toro, CA and Albany, GA. He graduated from the Intermediate Course at the Armed Forces School of Music in 1987. Gunnery Sergeant Joyce reported to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band as Percussion Section Leader in April, 1990. He was promoted to his present rank in August, 1990. In August, 1991, he was appointed to the position of Drum Major. Leon retired from the Marine Corps in June of 1997 from Marine Corps Logistic Base Albany, GA.
Gunnery Sergeant Joyce’s military awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Naval Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, second award, Good Conduct Medal, fifth award, the National Defense Medal & the Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, second award.
As a drummer Leon has worked for a wide variety of top artists. A short list would include Ramsey Lewis, Nancy Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Teena Marie, Howard Hewitt, Norman Connors, Tom Browne, Ann Hampton-Callaway, Yve Evans, Monty Alexander, Barry Harris, James Carter, Clark Terry, Conti Condoli, Ellis Marsalis, Larry Coryell, Gary Bartz, Billy Harper, Pete Fountain, Barbara Morrison, Patti LaBelle & Mary Wilson. Leon is currently a regular with the Leon Joyce Trio, Quartet and Quintet, the Sista Monica Band, the Jamie Davis Quintet, and the 57th Street Galley House Band. He also freelances in and around the Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas with numerous other artists. As a percussionist, he has performed under the direction of Carmen Dragon, Claude T. Smith, Dr. Larry Curtis, Cooleridge Taylor-Perkinson & Bill Russo.
As a clinician, Leon has led many clinics in Chicago and the United States at various educational institutions and music programs.
Leon has appeared at many of the top International Jazz Festivals, including Montreaux & Lugano Jazz Festivals in Switzerland and the Villingen Swing/Jazz Festival in Germany. Nationally, he has appeared in the Monterey Jazz and Blues, Playboy Jazz and JVC Jazz Festivals in California, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in Louisiana & the JVC Jazz Festival in Colorado. Locally he has appeared in the Chicago Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival & the South Shore Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Carmel Jazz Fest. Official Website