Firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, bassist Jake Leckie’s playing is informed by classical, gospel, latin music, and hip-hop. His credits include touring with Sixto “Sugarman” Rodriguez, traveling to the Havana Jazz Festival to perform with Spanish saxophonist Gianni Gagliardi, recording two albums with Canadian pianist/composer Cat Toren for her Human Kind project, recording and touring with The Harlem Gospel Travelers, and playing at several notable venues with piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker, including The Apollo Theatre, and Newport Jazz Festival where he was introduced on stage by bassist Chistian McBride.
He recorded his debut album The Abode with trumpeter Kenny Warren, pianist Sebastien Ammann, and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell, which was released on Outside In Music in 2019 to critical acclaim. During the pandemic he formed a trio with guitarist Nadav Peled and drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow who play on his second album The Guide, to be released on Ropeadope Records in April 2022.
Leckie was born in Boston, MA, and developed an interest in improvised music at a young age. His first bass teacher, John Lockwood, played a weekly set with the legendary free jazz trio, The Fringe (George Garzone, Bob Gullotti), and this approach to spontaneous music making was highly influential. He vividly remembers listening to a recording of Bill Evans trio playing Autumn Leaves, and Scott LaFaro’s solo leaving an indelible impression. Growing up in Brookline, MA, he recorded with avant-noir pianist Ran Blake, reggae guitarist Lyn Taitt, and long time friends Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Eli Keszler.
Leckie earned a degree in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore while studying bass with Michael Formanek, who introduced him to the compositional and group improvisational style of Charles Mingus. He earned a Masters in Audio Science from the Recording Arts department of the Peabody Conservatory where he was introduced to the string quartets of Debussy and Ravel, and the Pablo Casals recording of the Bach Cello Suites, which he still practices every morning. He found opportunities to study and play with Baltimore’s finest musicians including Warren Wolf and Dave Ballou, and backed up several local artists including Cris Jacobs and Eva Castillo. He was a teaching artist at Orchkids, an outreach program of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, that performed with Yo-Yo Ma.
He studied chamber and baroque music in Montreal, and performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival. During a formative semester in Spain, he was the house bassist in the multicultural genre bending WTF! Jam Session at the Jamboree Club in Barcelona where sometimes standards were called, and sometimes they said “WTF let’s just play.” He studied Cuban music with Hilario Duran and Roberto Occhipinti, and formed the tango band The Mash Potangos. The group toured in the US and Canada, performing traditional tangos for dancers as well as the music of Astor Piazzolla. They were awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant to record their second album, Nightshades. He formed an experimental tango group with pedal-steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, a latin jazz trio with Cuban/Venezuelan pianist Cesar Orozco, a Brazilian choro group Snail Knights, and played with the salsa bands Avance, The Pacific Mambo Orchestra, and La Granada All-Stars.
His gospel playing was developed on Sundays at the Greater Faith Baptist Church in Baltimore and at the Parkchester Baptist Church in the Bronx. He was a regular participant in the Baltimore Boom Bap Society, a hip-hop collective that featured several notable guest artists including Ursula Rucker (of The Roots). He was in the bass section of The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and was a member of the Out Of Your Head improvised music collective. He has performed with avant-garde saxophonist Matana Roberts, and played at Mintons, Smoke, The Blue Note, Smalls, 55 Bar, and Symphony Space. Through his sideman work, he has shared the stage with world-class drummers Justin Brown and Thomas Pridgen, and travels to San Francisco semi-annually to play a week-long residency with Christopher McBride and the Whole Proof at The Black Cat.
Leckie was a staff recording engineer at The Banff Centre in Alberta, and worked as an engineer and producer in Brooklyn at The Bunker Studio and Figure 8 Studios, which led to collaborations with Snack Cat, Danny Jonokuchi, Shahzad Ismaily, Marc Ribot, and composer David Cieri. He produced several albums, including Chris McCarthy’s Ropeadope release Still Time To Quit, and mixed five albums by Thumbscrew (Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara).
Leckie now resides in Los Angeles where he is on the music faculty at Los Angeles City College, and collaborates with like-minded improvisers Hitomi Oba, Logan Hone, Vardan Ovsepian, Nick Mancini, John Tegmeyer, and Josh Nelson. He plays in the dusty jazz-soul trio Roll$ Roy¢e with drummer Shawn Baltazor and guitarist Nadav Peled, and composes, arranges, and plays bass in the jazz-chamber music ensemble The Pickaxe String Collective with Will Brahm, Lauren Elizabeth Baba, and Karl McComas-Reichl. He works steadily as a composer, and his music can be heard on PBS, BBC, HBO, CNN, and NBC. Recent performances include Hardly Strickly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, Pilgrimage Festival in Nashville, and Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
From Boston, MA. Toured with Harlem Gospel Travelers, Sixto "Sugarman" Rodriguez, and Cat Toren's “Human Kind.” Played Blue
Note, Apollo, Newport, Montreal, and Havana Jazz Fests. Shared stage or studio with Hitomi Oba, Susan Alcorn, Matthew Whittaker, Christopher Mcbride, Eli Paperboy Reed, Cris Jacobs, Cesar Orozco, Lyn Taitt, Warren Wolf, Ran Blake, Mash Potangos, and Matana Roberts....more