Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Leighton began playing the bass at the tender age of 12 in his middle school orchestra class. He began playing jazz in grade 11 and in his grade 12 year he was selected to be a member of the prestigious Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. With this band, he attended the renowned Essentially Ellington competition in New York with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The band’s Rhythm section earned an honorable mention.
Leighton is currently a student in the jazz program at the University of Toronto, studying with Canadian bass legend Dave Young. His mentors away from school include New York’s Michael Dease, Chicago’s Marlene Rosenberg and fellow Canadian Steve Haines. Born to a Canadian mother and an American father, dual nationality has always been a central part of Leighton’s identity. This dual nationality is ever present in his approach to music. While deeply rooted in the soul and swing traditions of the American south, his experience in Toronto is shaping him to be a well rounded musician comfortable in a myriad of musical environments. Whether sitting in an orchestral bass section, playing at a jazz club or holding down a groove at a cypher, Leighton strives for clarity, honesty, and beauty in every note he plays.
Social media is instagram - @leightonharrell and Facebook: Leighton Harrell