Episode 32: Bass Guitarist Mai Leisz on Jazz, Melodic Playing and Writing/Performing with Rock Legends
Mai Leisz (pronounced Lease) is a “melodic” bass player and composer from the post-soviet country, Estonia. In 2010 she moved to Sweden to hone her craft, where she started her own jazz-fusion group, MaiGroup. In 2015, a musician touring with Jackson Browne heard Mai busking in the subways of Stockholm. The next night, Mai sat in with Jackson Browne on stage. This led to her writing and performing with other music legends, like David Crosby, and eventually moving to Los Angeles where she continues to write and perform. Mai’s most recent album, Metamorphosis, was released in 2019.
This January I was fortunate to be able to see Mai play live at the Namm 2020 Bass Bash and was blown away by her virtuosity as well as her musical generosity as the leader of her band. Our interview took placed the day after this performance at NAMM.
What you will learn:
- How being introduced to music at a young age influenced her musical trajectory.
- Why she studied jazz over other musical genres and how that helped her become more malleable musically.
- How a series of seemingly wrong turns and mistakes resulted in her performing with Jackson Browne.
- What she finds most inspiring about musical icons like David Crosby and Paul McCartney.
- What it was like to meet Paul McCartney in a rehearsal studio.
- Why enjoys playing fretless basses.
- What it means to play the bass “melodically.”
- Why she chose the bass over other instruments.
- What she finds most challenging and frustrating about the music business.
- Where she sees herself in the next five years in terms of her musical career.
- Instagram/Twitter @maileisz