Keyboards and Vocals
Leigh has played in numerous bands over the years, beginning in the mid-60’s in Manitoba, following ten years of classical training on piano. Moving to Toronto in 1973 to pursue a full-time career in music, he later took two years of private jazz instruction. Although having played various genres of music, Leigh’s musical style is deeply rooted in R&B, Soul and jazz.
Early musical influences include Jimmy Smith, Oscar Peterson, Brian Auger, Gene Harris, Greg Rolie (Santana), Gregg Allman (Allman Brothers), Donny Hathaway, Eumir Deodato, Joe Sample, Jimmy McGriff, Ramsey Lewis and Chester Thompson (Tower of Power).
Leigh has performed on stage with Meatloaf, Rick Derringer, Rick James (“Superfreak”), Liberty Silver, Sharon Lee Williams and Neil Chapman, and has recorded with Rich Dodson (Stampeders), Johanna Vanderkley and David Norris-Elye. Dodson’s song “Lookin’ Back” hit Top 10 on Billboard charts in the U.S.
Leigh has performed at many legendary music venues – Toronto clubs such as the Colonial Tavern, Palais Royale, El Mocambo, George’s Basin Street, The Generator, The Forge, PWDs, Mad Mechanic, Ontario Place Forum, Royal York Hotel, Embassy Tavern, Casa Loma, Camelot Tavern, Ports of Call, Windjammer Hotel (Wasaga Beach), Cirque Electrique (Quebec City), Café de l’Est (Montreal) and Danceland (Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba).
In the 70’s, Leigh’s keyboards included a Hammond B3 organ and modified 122 Leslie with Altec Lansing speaker, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hohner D6 clavinet, and various synthesizers including a Korg PolySix. He also played a set of Rogers timbales.
Today’s kit includes a Nord Stage 2.1 76 keyboard (affectionately known as “Big Red”) and a Hammond SK1-73 keyboard through a Yorkville 200 KB amp, along with a Pedaltrain-1 pedal board with various pedals.
Leigh has played in many bands over the years, including:
1966-1967 Prophet and the O-Men
4-piece group of high school friends playing chart rock tunes at dances in the southwestern Manitoba area
1967-1969 Children of Stone
4-piece group in Brandon, Manitoba playing Doors, John Mayall, Yardbirds, etc.
1969-1970 Salem Witch Hunt
4-piece Brandon group covering Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Argent, Led Zeppelin, Blues Image, Spencer Davis, etc.
1970-1973 Blind Justice
Progressive 8-piece horn band with female vocalist playing Chicago, Santana, Ten Wheel Drive, etc. in Brandon area. Became a 4 piece band covering Allman Brothers, Santana, Stones.
1973-1975 Ram and The Mighty Pope
Toronto-based R&B / Soul band. Played eastern Canada circuit – Ontario, Montreal, Quebec City, New Brunswick. House band at Windjammer Hotel in Wasaga Beach every summer.
6-piece R&B /funk horn band with female vocalist playing Tower of Power, Average White Band, etc. throughout Ontario and Quebec.
1975 Dancing Machine
4 piece R&B show band featuring vocalist Charlotte Martin and 2 dancers playing throughout Ontario, including Toronto’s Colonial Tavern and in Montreal.
1976 Ebony Jam
6-piece heavy funk band with vocalist Charlotte Martin playing Tower of Power, Average White Band, Brecker Brothers, Chaka Khan, etc. Played top Toronto club circuit. Members of this band went on to play with Long John Baldry, Chris de Burgh, Downchild Blues Band and the Stampeders.
1976 Patricia Dahlquist
4 piece band backing Juno Award winning vocalist doing 40’s swing and show tunes on a western Canada tour as well as at Ontario Place
1976 Rare Movement
4 piece R&B / funk band backing 3 vocalists doing obscure R&B material by Brothers Johnson, Graham Central Station, etc. House band at George’s Basin Street and Colonial Tavern (downstairs)
1978 Maiden Voyage
4-piece R&B / jazz oriented band backing vocalist Sherri Jaycock, former back-up singer for Aretha Franklin.
4-piece R&B / funk band featuring vocalist Darlene Walton
High energy R&B band featuring vocalist Johanna Vanderkley.
1983 The Dance Band
R&B dance group featuring Sharon Lee Williams and Leigh as front vocalists
1986 Double Exposure
5-piece R&B group featuring vocalist Johanna Vanderkley
1993-1994 Mary & The Notables
1994-current Tequila Mockingbird (which became) The Fade Kings
4-piece group playing a broad mix of R&B, Soul, blues, smooth jazz and classic rock, initially backing vocalist Lenni Stewart; later changing to a quartet