Double Bassist Leigh Barker has been leading bands since he was a teenager. He formed his first Jazz band in 2002, and it briefly toured under the name of ‘Libido Buddha’. After never being quite sure of what exactly a Libido Buddha was, the guys in the band settled on the far more sensible ‘Leigh Barker Quintet’.
In 2005 Leigh formed a trio that played weekly in Melbourne. This trio was called ‘The Sheiks’. Eventually the Sheiks morphed into the Leigh Barker Quintet, and Leigh decided to cut his losses and call the whole thing ‘Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks’. A very good reason to stick with this name came along in 2011 when the band won an ‘Australian Jazz Bell Award’ for the CD also titled ‘The New Sheiks’, (as well as reducing the obligation to specify the size of the group in advance… How does the apocryphal gag go? “How many musicians in your quintet?…”)
A few sell out tours and four albums later (‘The Sales Tax’ – 2012, ‘Australiana’ – 2013, ‘Flow Like Wine’ - 2014), and we arrive in the present. The band is now an eight piece, usually billed as the 'Leigh Barker Band' or 'Octet' with the addition of John Scurry on guitar and banjo, and Jason Downes on reeds. The next step in the band’s tilt at world domination revolves around the marvelous ‘Melbourne Rhythm Project’ a collaboration with seven dancers in an unbelievable live show, click on the icons on the bottom of the page for the youtube and vimeo channels for footage.
Leigh Barker’s latest album:
A special collection of recordings from Leigh Barker and his six piece group, titled 'The Last Sheiks' recorded on tour in Hobart Australia late in 2013. This release marks the last 'album' from the six piece configuration often known as 'The New Sheiks'. Click above on the 'BUY MUSIC' link to purchase.