Darrell Leonard

2009 INDUCTEE

Darrell Leonard grew up on a farm outside of Fairfax, near Cedar Rapids. He started playing trumpet at the age 10 and graduated from Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids in 1965, where he played in the school band. He went to college at North Texas State but after a couple of years started touring with a band and wound up in L.A. in ’69.

He has done musical arrangements for several films, including Home Alone, Swing Shift, Indecent Proposal, Tommy Boy and The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

He has also worked as the arranger for the Director’s Guild Awards and also the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Awards, where he got to perform with Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore, Jay McShann and many others.

Along with sax player, Joe Sublett, he is one-half of the Texicali Horns and has earned a Grammy for his work with Taj Mahal and the band that he has been playing in since 1998, The Phantom Blues Band.

He has performed live with a who’s who of the musical world including:

  • Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
  • Dr. John
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Glenn Frey & Joe Walsh
  • Little Feat
  • Taj Mahal
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Kim Wilson & the Fabulous Thunderbirds

And besides those artists, he has also recorded on numerous albums with:

  • Duane Allman
  • The Black Crowes
  • Eric Burdon
  • Solomon Burke
  • T-Bone Burnett
  • Jon Cleary
  • Bette Midler
  • Coco Montoya
  • Keb Mo’
  • Maria Muldaur
  • Willie Nelson
  • Lucky Peterson
  • Ana Popovic
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Lou Rawls
  • Johnny Rivers
  • Smokey Robinson
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Otis Rush
  • Percy Sledge
  • Jimmy Smith
  • The Temptations
  • Mike Zito