From the Heart of the Hood to the Pinnacle of Paris
by Steve Penn
Leon Alexander Brady was born November 4, 1932 in New Orleans at the start of the Great Depression. He would eventually graduate from Tennessee State University with his Bachelor and Master’s degrees. After college, Brady was hired to teach marching band, stage band and orchestra at Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas in 1966.
Through hard work, Brady would go on to lead the band through its most successful era. In July 1972, he reached the pinnacle, taking his stage band to the Paris Jazz Internationale Festival in Paris. Against the odds, the band won. When the band returned a winner, they were celebrated across the state.
A large contingency of Brady’s former students work today as professional musicians. With all that he has achieved, you would think that Brady would have turned the page to retirement. Not the Leon Brady I know. His intense drive to impact valuable wisdom into this next generation of jazz musicians is just as strong today as it was back in 1966. The time has now come to give Brady the flowers he so richly deserves. Brady is like a comet. We may rarely ever see his kind again. This book is an attempt to sum up Brady’s rich legacy so we never forget.