Leo Appleyard is a London based guitarist who has performed all over the UK and Europe at venues and festivals including Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express (Dean St), The Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, North Face Festival (Switzerland), The Blue Note (Dublin), London Jazz Festival, Bagra jazz festival (Italy), Oldenburg jazz festival (Germany) and many others.
Leo has studied music formally at The Royal Academy of Music – London, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he has received tuition from many notable musicians including Nick Smart, Phil Robson, Jez Franks and Jean Toussaint.
Over the past decade Leo has played/recorded with various artists - both in and out of the jazz idiom - including; Derek Nash, Jim Mullen, Duncan Eagles, Neil Yates, Max Luthert, Louie Palmer, Sam Leak, Paul Jordanous, Ted Carrasco, Simon Allen, Cat Delphi (BBC Radio 2 and o2 Islington) Gold of My own (Ronnie Scotts, The Barbican, North Face Festival, Larma Tree Fest), Mr Little’s Noisy Band, Will Gibson Ensemble, Redtenbacher's Funkestra.
Aside from an active sideman/peformance career, Leo produces electronic/downtempo music under the moniker "Urchin" from his secluded island studio in South West London. The latest release "Take Time" (01.03.19) features Grace Walker (vocals) alongside long term collaborators Paul Jordanous (Trumpet), Chris Nickolls (Drums) and Holley Gray (Bass).
"...checks everything on the hypothetical, “what makes a perfect song” check list." Rural Sounds
In 2015 Leo joined hiphop/soul group 'Gold of my Own' - sparking an organic and ongoing collaboration with musicians Chris Pedley, Vanessa Freeman and Ted Carrasco - with performances around the UK at the Barbican Centre, Ronnie Scotts, Larmer Tree Festival and North Face Festival (Italy and Switzerland).
In August 2013, Leo recorded his debut album, “Pembroke Road” featuring special guest Neil Yates (Trumpet) alongside Duncan Eagles (Saxophone), Max Luthert (Bass), and Eric Ford (Drums). The album was released in September 2014 on the esteemed F-IRE records and features nine original compositions – honed over a ten year musical relationship with his band. Tracks from “Pembroke Road” were played on BBC3 Radio, Jazz FM and UK Jazz Radio as well as numerous online radio stations. The subsequent release tour of the UK visited venues across the country including The Verdict (Brighton), Pizza Express (Soho), Dempsey’s (Cardiff) and The Hive (Shrewsbury).
In June 2012, after a life-long interest in radio, Leo produced his first radio show – “New Jazz in Birmingham: The Second City Scene” – broadcast on UK Jazz Radio -Youtube Link to Show.
Leo is also a passionate teacher and educator and currently holds the position of Professor of Guitar at the Royal Military School of Music. In 2015 Leo was asked to re-write the contemporary guitar syllabus which is now taught all around the UK and internationally at army institutions.
“Appleyard could well be the most accomplished new UK jazz guitarist to come along since Femi Temowo…”
“One of the new crop of jazz musicians, making a mark on the scene…”
Julian Joseph, BBC Radio 3
“Leo is a fab guitarist & composer, definitely a real natural! This debut CD should firmly establish him as a new voice on the scene”
“Imaginative and rich compositions…plenty of scope for their virtuoso talents to shine…”
The Argus (Brighton)
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“Imaginative and beautifully crafted compositions and performance with a strong emphasis on great sound quality“John Etheridge
“Appleyard could well be the most accomplished new UK jazz guitarist to come along since Femi Temowo…”Marlbank