Leo Appleyard is a London based guitarist and producer. He has performed internationally at venues and festivals including Ronnie Scotts, 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 countless others.
Leo studied jazz guitar at The Royal Academy of Music – London, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he 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), Jo Harman (BBC Radio 2 Live session + tour), Will Gibson Ensemble, Redtenbacher's Funkestra.
As a producer/mixing engineer, Leo's work has appeared on MTV France, BBC London, BBC Introducing, ITV, Universal Records - working with artists such as SHELLS, Cat Delphi, JOP, Zoe Badman, Saronde/Beating Heart and countless others. Spotify playlist of discography below.
In May 2023, a collaborative track ('Slow Game') with Canadian composer 'Ross Koopmans' won 'Best Original Song' in the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival for its inclusion in 'A night In Lisbon'. LA Film Fest
Aside from his active sideman/performance career, Leo produces electronic/downtempo music under the moniker Urchin from his secluded island studio in South West London.
Releasing on Bonfire Records (USA) alongside a string of remixes for artists from Australia, USA, UK and Europe.
"...So, So good!" Jamie Lidell
"...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 2013, Leo recorded his debut jazz album, “Pembroke Road” featuring special guest Neil Yates (Trumpet) alongside Duncan Eagles (Saxophone), Max Luthert (Bass), and Eric Ford (Drums). Released on F-IRE records, featuring 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.
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…” Marlbank
“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” Phil Robson
“Imaginative and rich compositions…plenty of scope for their virtuoso talents to shine…” The Argus (Brighton)
02/01/23 / Ronnie Scotts / Chris Rand
15/01/23 / British Blues Fest, Skegness / Chris Rand
22/01/23 / Ain't Nothing But / Chris Rand
12/03/23 / Southampton Modern Jazz Club / Paul Jordanous