Rupert has had a love of music stretching back as far as he can remember. An accomplished, self-taught pianist, he also sings, plays vibraphone, saxophone, bass & drums. He began composing music in his mid-teens and has since released several albums, achieving worldwide radio airplay and critical acclaim. Described as ‘the funkiest keys player you will hear anywhere’ by Smooth Jazz Therapy UK and by jazzreview.com as ‘stretching the boundaries of contemporary jazz with music that has never been arranged quite like this before.’ Rupert’s early influence was predominantly jazz & blues but he soon started to add funk and electronic sounds to his repertoire. His first album ‘Beyond Reflection’ was followed a year later by ‘Take the Sidewalk’ which already showed a greater sophistication and ability than its predecessor, combining the ease of modern music with the finesse of jazz. Released in late 2006 on Innervision Records, the album achieved extensive radio airplay, particularly in the U.S. He released a third album ‘Utter Karma’ in 2010 which was deemed by critics as an impressive album of nu jazz & groove reminiscent of St.Germain’s ‘Tourist’ Album. During this time, Rupert formed a trio, 'Miquid Licks' to play his jazz repertoire. The band spent two busy years playing all around the south & south west of England. In 2011, he turned his attention to funk with the formation of a new band ‘Fujalada’ www.fujalada.com. Inspired by artists such as Prince, Jamiroquai, Roy Ayers, Kid Creole, Michael Jackson & Stevie Wonder, he wrote new songs and assembled some first class players to join him. Several years & two albums later, Fujalada have firmly established themselves as an outstanding live act, kicking out a pulsating mix of original funk & feel-good vibes guaranteed to make you get a wiggle on!
‘Englishman Rupert Leighton has a way with making his piano dance, whether to digital bass and rhythmical programs or to lavish cymbal and horn formations. The album is a synthesis of Jamiroquai-like beats and Chopin’s rattling piano flitters…club/dance jazz that forms great escapes to plunge into and feel free. It’s music whose elements are familiar, but have never been arranged like this before’ – (JAZZ REVIEW.COM)
‘It is good to see that contemporary jazz is in more than capable hands. Rupert’s inclusion of that mellow groove mixed with a dash of chill, creates a very personal album