The Gus Leighton Quartet
Original Compositions and Arrangements
The Gus Leighton Quartet is a new group on the Tasmanian jazz scene which plays a combination of original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards. Gus Leighton fronts the band on Tenor Saxophone and is joined by Mathew Olivier on Piano, Sasha Gavlek on Double Bass and Lawrence Churches on Drums.
Gus’ compositions are honest and emotionally charged, taking influences from his musical heroes and built upon his experiences, his current life and hopes for the future. You can expect to hear ballads, hard swingers, cookin' bebop and the occasional waltz in this up-and-coming local act comprised of some of Tasmania’s finest young jazz musicians.
Hello! My name is Sasha, and I play the double bass (aka the big boy violin). I like to have bevvies with good friends, try art now and then, and play music. I love to play with as many different people as I can. There’s always something new to discover and learn; the possibilities are endless. I love jamming out new material with mates and performing to live audiences which is one of the most rewarding experiences I can think of.
What’s your Favourite Jazz Standard and favourite performance of said standard? No way to pick a favourite, but some classics that come to mind are Exactly Like You (Nina Simone), If I Had You (Etta James), and Sunny Side of the Street (Gillespie, Stitt, and Rollins)
If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life which would you pick? Lo Sagrado (Silvana Estrada), Djesse vol. 3 (Jacob Collier), Live at Madison Square Garden (Vulfpeck)
Favourite Colour? Burnt Orange
Who are your Musical Idols or Heroes? Esperanza Spalding, Jacob Collier, Sampa the Great.
When you go to a café what’s your order? Soy chai tea to keep my tum happy
What’s your guilty pleasure song? No such thing as guilty pleasures But I'll go with Don't Start Now by Dua Lipa.
Favourite thing about being in the quartet? Getting to play with the big brain boys
Born in Hobart, Tas. I have been playing drums since the age of 12 playing a variety of grunge, metal and rock styles. From there I was introduced to Jazz/Funk and from then on have been indulging myself further, having hits with some good people and making some good waves.
What’s your Favourite Jazz Standard and favourite performance of said standard? This is a really hard question and I struggle to answer it as it is ever evolving. If I had to pick one it would have to be I Fall In Love Too Easily – Namely the Chet Baker version, either that or Angus’ Adelaide's Lullaby – try not to tear up, dare ya.
If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life which would you pick?
Anderson Paak’s ‘Malibu’
Erykah Badu’s ‘Baduizm’
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Good Kid m.A.A.d. City'
Favourite Colour? Blue, baby
Who are your Musical Idols or Heroes? Gotta be the likes of Elvin, Kendrick, J Dilla. Pretty much anyone who’s out doin’ it to their hardest and most humble.
When you go to a café what’s your order? Coffee wise? Soy Latte, unless they’re rocking that sweet Milklab Almond Milk. Shout out to Yellow Bernard
What’s your guilty pleasure song? Let’s just say that God is a Dangerous Woman
Favourite thing about being in the quartet? Just good times man, hanging out with guys that you’d normally hang out with, getting to converse over the instruments is just a bonus. Steeze always comes so smooth.
Hi, I’m Mathew. Gussy is my friend and we make music together.
What’s your Favourite Jazz Standard and favourite performance of said standard? Another disgustingly difficult question. I’ll just say Bill Evans and Tony Bennett’s performance of ‘Waltz for Debby’, because it is just that emotionally crippling.
If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life which would you
pick? This makes me sad to think about. I can’t answer this.
Favourite Colour? Purple.
Who are your Musical Idols or Heroes? So many, man. I’m inspired just about every day, people are truly amazing.
When you go to a café what’s your order? Flat white, please and thank you.
What’s your guilty pleasure song? Pretty shameless when it comes to music, honestly. ‘M.I.L.F. $’, maybe.
Favourite thing about being in the quartet? When ‘the thing’ happens.
What’s your Favourite Jazz Standard and favourite performance of said standard?
I love so many jazz standards so this is pretty hard to narrow down but I adore the tune All of Me by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons, I never tire of playing or hearing it. There are so many great performances of this tune too – I do always love putting on Lester Young’s version from Pres and Teddy though.
If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life which would you pick? I don’t know why I gave everyone such hard questions to answer… After I write this I will probably change my mind. Let’s go with, The Apartment (Dexter Gordon), Schizophrenia (Wayne Shorter) and Pres and Teddy (Lester Young). Oh No Wai…
Favourite Colour? Green
Who are your Musical Idols or Heroes? The people around me and the people that I create music with on a daily basis push me and inspire me. This is something I am incredibly grateful for – making music wouldn’t mean much unless I was creating it with my closest friends. I also constantly listen to and am inspired by a huge list of musicians which would take too long to list but it includes the likes of Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, John Williamson, Willie Nelson and so, so many others.
When you go to a café what’s your order? When I’m with Hadyn I’ll have a Flat White otherwise usually Green Tea (Good old Yellow Bernard has a pretty wicked Japanese Green Tea).
What’s your guilty pleasure song? Honkytonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins
Favourite thing about being in the quartet? It is such a privilege to perform original music alongside three of my closest friends I cannot describe how much I love being in this group. The opportunity to present music which is very close to my heart to an audience is such an incredible experience and pleasure.