Lenard Simpson is a saxophonist, composer and educator from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lenard was mostly self-taught through high school, but his natural ability and musicianship earned him accolades such as membership in the esteemed Grammy Camp Jazz Session, and an outstanding soloist award at the Mingus Jazz Competition in New York City. Lenard has had the opportunity to play and travel with artists such as pianist and composer-Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Marquis Hill, and Clayton Cameron. Lenard received a B.M in Jazz performance at Northern Illinois University. While studying at NIU, Lenard was awarded first place in Chicago’s esteemed Luminarts Jazz Competition.
Upon graduation, Lenard moved to Chicago and soon became one of the city’s top call saxophonists playing sideman to legendary local drummers, George Fludas and Charles Heath. Lenard’s trio has appeared at premier clubs and jazz festivals throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee area. Lenard recently graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute Fellowship, which has since been renamed to the Herbie Hancock Institut where he was selected by a panel of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, James Newton and Ambrose Akinmusire.
After graduating from the prestigious institute, Lenard moved back to Chicago, Illinois where he accepted a Fellowship award to teach and perform through the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Lenard remains active as a bandleader, composer and educator in the music community . In addition to maintaining an active performing schedule as a leader and sideman, Lenard is also an educator and has taught at several high profile jazz programs including The Herbie Hancock institute Jazz in the classroom, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, NIU jazz camp, and Birch Creek jazz camp. Additionally, Lenard has taught masterclasses for international Jazz Day in Melbourne, Australia, at the Sitka Jazz Festival in Sitka, Alaska and has served as an adjunct saxophone professor at Northern Illinois University