Bassist, composer and bandleader Leigh Barker was born and raised in Canberra, where he spent his formative years studying with American bassist Eric Ajaye at the Canberra School of Music.
His move to Melbourne in 2003 provided much professional experience, with Leigh proving to be a popular accompanist for the cream of the traditional and contemporary Jazz scenes, appearing with Julie O’Hara, Jamie Oehlers, Sarah McKenzie, The Hoodangers, Katie Noonan, George Washingmachine, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), the Fireworks Jazz Band, Joe Chindamo, Julien Wilson, Peter and Andy Baylor, the Bennetts Lane Big Band, The Band Who Knew Too Much, Heather Stewart and many others.
Leigh has an equal amount of experience in the field of education, and has been teaching since he was 18. At Melbourne Polytechnic He teaches arranging, aural, music technology and ensembles. He also currently teaches all the stringed instruments (double bass, guitar, cello, viola, violin) at Ivanhoe Grammar School, and his band always conducts workshops and masterclasses for primary schools all the way up to universities when they are on tour.
In January 2004 Leigh travelled to the US for five weeks, where he pursued formal studies with bassists Ben Wolfe, Eric Revis and Reginald Veal, as well as spending valuable time with mentors Branford Marsalis and guitarist Doug Wamble. In March 2010 Leigh and his band had the great privilege of being the supporting act for Branford’s Australian tour. Leigh opened concerts in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, and performed encores with Branford at the Sydney Opera House and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
In 2006 Leigh collaborated with celebrated Tasmanian pianist Tom Vincent on the soundtrack for the hit ABC television program ‘The Collectors’. Leigh now tours frequently with Tom Vincent’s band, which is in demand around the world.
March 2008 saw Leigh performing in concerts with American Tenor Saxophonist Ned Goold, who is the musical director of the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band.
Leigh also toured as the support act for Chris Botti in 2011, appearing with the Sarah McKenzie Trio, and in April of 2011 participated in the Australian tour of the ‘Hot Jazz Alliance’ featuring American musicians Josh Duffee and Andy Schumm, world renown experts in 1920’s Jazz.
In 2010 and 2011 Leigh was nominated for the prestigious ‘Music Council of Australia Freedman Music Fellowship’ and in 2011 his CD ‘The New Sheiks’ won a prestigious Australian Bell Award for ‘Best Traditional Jazz Album’.
Since 2003 Leigh has been consistently touring his band around Australia performing at concerts, festivals, school workshops and promoting his four CD releases. “Off to Moruya” which was recorded for the ABC ‘Jazztrack’ program (2005), a self titled debut disc from 2004, a live album named “Lynnville” (2008), “The New Sheiks” (2010) and the latest release, "The Sales Tax" (2012). These albums are available around the world through CDbaby.com and the Apple iTunes store. There are also two albums of live material available exclusively on iTunes, both recorded by premium film company ‘Exero’ at the BMW Edge theatre in Melbourne. (“Live at the Edge” and “Leigh Barker Live at the Edge” both released 2006).