Mai Leisz (pronounced Lease) is a bassplayer and composer from the shadowland of the North: post-soviet country, Estonia, where she was born and raised. In 2010 she made the move to Sweden where she honed her craft as an electric bass player and composer. She started gaining wider exposure with her own jazz-fusion group MaiGroup as well as freelancing with different jazz bands and pop artists.
Her tireless work ethic, melodic bass playing and versatility has raised her name among the world’s top musicians. Mai is hailed as a music chameleon, moving effortlessly from pop, folk and country to jazz and blues.
In June 2015 she had couple of days off touring and was busking in the old town Stockholm with a veteran singer-songwriter Doug Seegers, when one of her favorite musicians in the world, multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz - on tour with Jackson Browne - happened to walk by. He was very moved by what he saw and heard, took note of Mai’s distinctive Kraftsman bass and informed bass player Bob Glaub, who was also on the tour. The next day Mai was invited to sit in with Jackson and his band at Stockholm Waterfront and thus began a whirl-wind adventure for a girl, who started her life on an island, in a village of 250 people and who now found herself relocating to Los Angeles, recording, writing and touring with a two-time member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -David Crosby; performing with Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Jim Keltner, Charles Lloyd, David Foster and Seal among others.
MaiGroup has released three albums: “Luv” (2013), “You” (2015) and the third album “Metamorphosis” was released in April 2019 featuring world renowned guests such as Bill Frisell, David Crosby, Charles Lloyd and Greg Leisz.
2014-2017 The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden - Master’s degree - jazz, bass guitar
2011-2014 The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden - Bachelor’s degree - jazz, bass guitar
2010-2011 Skurups Folkhögskola, Sweden - jazz, bass guitar
2007-2010 Georg Ots Tallinn Music School, Estonia - jazz, bass guitar
1996-2004 Kuressaare Music School, Estonia - classical violin
Awards and honors
Nomination for Jazz Cat Newcomer award 2016 by Swedish Radio
Alice Babs Jazz scholarship 2016
The Royal Swedish Music Academy - national jazz scholarship 2015
The Royal College of Music in Stockholm - outstanding student award 2013
The Royal College of Music in Stockholm - outstanding student award 2012
Uno Naissoo Composition Contest - best instrumentalist 2010
Tartu Jazz - biggest surpriser award 2008
Alo Mattiisen Music Days - grand prix 2004
Björn Arkö is a saxophone player, composer and arranger based in Stockholm, Sweden.
His debut album ”Stating the Obvious” (2017) was very well received by the press.
Currently he is performing with Swedish singer Lisa Nilsson, Henrik Linder & The Cuddly Kittens to mention a few and Björn often visits Japan to perform with different constellations.
Music came into Simon's life at an early stage, and the piano soon became his focus. After initially being exposed mainly to classical music, a fascination for improvisation arose. He attended music school for children and proceeded to music-oriented gymnasium, folkhögskola and eventually the Royal academy of Music in Stockholm. As a composer and player, Simon gravitates towards a ‘pure’ harmonic and melodic structure, superimposed basic tonalities rather than altered scales, and slowly developing processes where ideas are established over time. Simon works with various acts, such as MaiGroup, Berggren–Michele–Salina, his solo piano project, Tullio Ricci and Jonathan Kreisberg’s band, etc.
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Jonathan began playing drums at the age of 13. Besides being a sideman/freelance musician, Jonathan has his own band, which he has released two records with, the latter distributed by Universal Music Japan and features David Garfield, Derek Sherinian, Hadrien Feraud amongst others.
In 2004 he participated and won the Carlos Vega Memorial Scholarship Drum Off in Musicians Institute, Los Angeles.
Calle (Carl) Stålenbring is a Swedish guitar player based in Stockholm. He comes from a westcoast/rock-upbringing and went on to study Jazz in 2007 at the Swedish Royal College of Music. Main influences include Pat Metheny, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau, Scott Henderson, Chick Corea and many more. Carl has been spending the last few years touring and playing with many different Swedish pop acts across different genres and is currently working with Swedish singer-virtuoso Molly Hammar. Also featured on MaiGroup drummer Jonathan Lundberg's album Iterations.
MaiGroup is a modern jazz-fusion band led by bass player & composer Mai Leisz (pronounced as Lease). Born and raised on an island Saaremaa in Estonia, educated at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, she now lives the dream in Los Angeles and works with some of the biggest legends in the world today. She is mostly known as the bass player of two time member of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – David Crosby – from The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Mai’s music is very confessional and she focuses on communicating emotion through her songs. Her music is an introspective contemplation of life, love and a search for answers… It’s about expanding heart and mind and exploring the depths of your own soul. It’s a journey from an emotional turmoil to a deep peace within.
MaiGroup members Björn Arkö (saxophone), Calle Stålenbring (guitar), Jonathan Lundberg (drums) and Simon Berggren (piano) are all very sought after musicians in their own right. They bring their vision and touch to the roots of Mai’s music and give it wings to fly.
MaiGroup has released 3 albums: “Luv” (2013) and “You” (2015) and their latest album “Metamorphosis” was released in April 2019 featuring world renown artists such as Bill Frisell, David Crosby, Greg Leisz and Charles Lloyd.
MaiGroup’s third studio album Metamorphosis was recorded at Groove Masters Studio in Santa Monica, CA and it features world renown guest artists such as Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd, David Crosby and Greg Leisz.
Co-produced with Mai’s husband, multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz - this album is an introspective contemplation of personal growth, changes, love and … love.
The second studio album You from the Estonian/Swedish group MaiGroup is filled with music dedicated to the people who have inspired Mai - the composer, arranger and producer of all the compositions on the album.
You features multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar, Swedish jazz legend Håkan Broström on soprano saxophone and Wille Alin on drums.
Luv is the debut album of Mai Leisz’s modern jazz fusion group MaiGroup. This album was the first big milestone in her artistic development and showcased her talents as a bass player, band leader, composer, arranger and producer.
10 compositions on this album are all “luv” songs to life.