Max Leake is a Pittsburgh based eclectic jazz pianist and keyboard player.
Max Leake began his musical training at age six. By the time he was 15, he was working
with local Pittsburgh bands and backing up national acts in local supper clubs. At the age
of 18, Max was traveling around the country with acts such as the “Ink Spots” and the
Max spent time playing in show-bands in the Catskill Mountains of New York backing up
variety acts, comedians and singers. He also cruised around the Western hemisphere as a
house pianist in the showbands on many different Princess Cruises ships.
In 1985 he released his self-produced album “Buns in the Sun” on Visionary Records, a
record label started by Max and Mike Hurzon (owner of the “Tracking Station”, an
independent record promotion company). The album drew widespread airplay nationally
and was reviewed favorably by many newspapers and trade publications.
Max has gone on to produce, compose for and record with dozens of other artists including
Mesa Blue Moon recording artist “Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering”, Heads Up
records artist “Kenny Blake”, “Salsamba”, “Billy Price” and the “Balcony Big Band” on Corona
Max has been recording, composing, arranging and performing for 35 years with some of
the best jazz and blues artists in the world including Roger Humphries, Stanley Turrentine,
Rick Margitza, Dwayne Dolphin, Henry Johnson, Rebecca Parris, Billy Price, Joe Negri, Sandy
Staley, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Orchestra, Tommy Tedesco, David “Fathead”
Newman, Don Latarski, Al Dowe and Etta Cox and the Balcony Big Band, just to name a few.
He was voted “Best Jazz Keyboardist” in the “In Pittsburgh” music awards in 1989, 1991
and in 1995.
Max began composing and performing music for websites, videos, planetarium shows and
CD-ROMs for various advertising and multimedia production companies with his own
home-based music production company. He is currently a multimedia developer for the
WISER Institute, which is a medical simulation education facility and actively performs,
composes, arranges and produces for live performances, multimedia, and recordings.
As of January of 2017, Max is an adjunct professor at the Mary Pappert School of Music at
As a sideman:
Kenny Blake – Love I Know Your Name (1982)
Kenny Blake – Rumor Has It, HeadsUp Records (1991)
Kenny Blake – Interior Design (1992)
Kenny Blake – Since You Asked, HeadsUp Records (1993)
Billy Price – Danger Zone, Corona (1993)
Billy Price – The Soul Collection, Corona (1997)
Al Dowe and Etta Cox – Sunday Jam, Dowdel, (1996)
Salsamba – Latinventions, Clave’ (1998)
Balcony Big Band – Seasoned To Taste, Corona (1993)
The Gathering Field – Reliance (1999)
Bill Deasy – Spring Lies Waiting, Onoma (1999)
Last Call at the Balcony, WDUQ Jazz (1998)
Lisa Ferraro – Timeless (2003)
Dwayne Dolphin – 4Robin, AAM records (2004)
Lisa Marranaci – Waiting For Spring (2004) /w Joe Negri
Mike Tomaro and the Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra – Night Owl Suite, Sea Breeze (2004)
Salsamba – Brazilia, NorthStar Music (2006)
Sandy Staley – Everything I Love, Corona (2006)
Ken Karsh – Ventana, Alanna Records (2009)
Lisa Ferraro – Live at Fallingwater, PranavaSonic (2009)
Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy, MCGJazz (2010)
Roger Humphries – Keep the Faith (2011)
Kenny Karsh – Conversations, Alanna Records (2012)
As a leader:
Buns In The Sun – Visionary Records (1985)
Trios – Corona Music, (2004)
My Jazz Story
Published on: 2018-05-03
I love jazz because it has been the greatest gift of my life to play jazz and be a part of the larger jazz community.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was about 13 years old in 1971.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Davis' Four and More.