The Leaf Jumpers Story

It's hard to believe that Leaf Jumpers released their 3rd studio album in 2016. Considering the band has been around on and off for over 20 years makes this achievement both a pleasant surprise and an unlikely event!

The band was formed in the fall of 1995 out of the ashes of Quatrain, a high school/college band that singer/guitarist Chris Marra had formed in 1989. When the band ended, both Chris and current bass player Spike Kingsley and drummer Mat Pickering were still interested in playing together. Within a few months they had formed Leaf Jumpers with Chris and Mat's neighbor Jon Hebert on guitar. That lineup lasted through the winter until early in 1996 when guitarist Matt Bureau joined the band. In 1996 the band recorded a demo tape (yes we said tape) of 6 songs which would eventually be released to the public in a limited run. During this time Mat Pickering left the band and was replaced by Steve Clay, then drummer Scott Pezsko. This lineup for Marra, Kingsley, Bureau and Pezsko would be the classic lineup of the band from 1997-1999. During this time the band played shows up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Georgia. Playing at some of the country's best venues, including Toad's Place in New Haven, The Wetlands in New York City, and the Georgia Theater in Athens, GA. They also released their debut CD, Z'ilo Down. The CD included many concert staples, including Melissa's Parlor, Begin Again, Ride, and Captain's Tale, a fan favorite that is still popular today.  During this time the band shared the stage with several of the nations top jam acts, including Sister Hazel, Deep Banana Blackout, Max Creek, From Good Homes, Disco Biscuits, NRBQ, Rustic Overtones, God Street Wine, Percy Hill and many more. The band even played a festival show with a then unknown Godsmack!

But fun times soon turned into sad times as Spike Kingsley left the band in January 1999. Chris Huit replaced Spike for the next two years. During this time the band continued to play over 100 shows a year. Mat Pickering rejoined the band on percussion during the spring and summer of 1999. The band recorded Sunlight Blind in 2000, which included live favorites Long Since Done, Back Around, and White House. The second album didn't fare as well as the first, and tensions in the band brought another change with Darren Finnegan replacing Huit in late 2000. By 2001, Spike Kingsley returned replacing Finnegan, and Pickering returned again as well. But by this time the band members were losing steam. Rather than continue without a real sense of purpose, the band split in the summer of 2001.

In 2003, the band regrouped with Marra, Kingsley, Bureau, Pickering and drummer James Anderson. They played a few shows through early 2004, but once again the interest within the band was not where it needed to be to continue. For the next ten years, members of the band were involved with several different projects and stayed in touch with each other.

Then in 2013, the band returned to the stage. The classic lineup of Marra, Kingsley, Bureau and Peszko returned for a one off show in Hartford, Connecticut. The band continued through early 2014, where this time Bureau left to pursue other projects. Keyboard player Mark Apostilides joined in March 2014 and during the Summer and Fall the band played several clubs, festivals, and fairs. In December of that year the band played during an AHL hockey games in the main arena at the XL Center in Hartford, capping off a year in which they played to over 10,000 people.

Apostilides left in early 2015 and was replaced by Jeff Bousfield. The band entered Coffeehouse Studios in Middletown in April to record their 3rd full length CD. Kristen Forscher was added to the lineup as a backing vocalist, along with part time vocalist Anna Babbin.  The band once again played several shows throughout the year including several major festivals. For 2016 the band looks to play several more shows supporting their new album.

In 2016 the band released it's third studio album, "A Distant Land". The lineup for 2016 was Marra, Kingsley, Forscher, along with returning drummer James Anderson and new keyboard/guitar player Matt Splain. The band played several club and festival shows in support of the new CD throughout the summer.

In 2017 Marc Apostilides returned on keyboards and vocals, as the band continued to play several shows during the summer of 2017 and 2018. In 2019 the band continued to play all over New England and guitarist, vocalist Ted Petrie joined the fold. The band played over 15 shows during the 2020 outdoor season during the Covid-19 crisis.  

In 2021 founding member Spike Kingsley announced he would take the year off for health issues. The band played a full summer schedule with the lineup of Marra, Anderson, Splain, Petrie and bass player Marc Crino. In November 2021, Spike Kingsley passed away after a year long battle with cancer. 

2022 began with the band questioning whether Leaf Jumpers had a future. New bass player Dave Connelly joined the team and from the beginning of the summer the band played amazingly and with a renewed sense of purpose. Plans are in the works for new music and a more year round playing schedule. 

Past Venues

Toad's Place, New Haven, CT
The Webster Theater, Hartford, CT
Arch Street Tavern, Hartford, CT
Pacific Standard Tavern, New Haven, CT
T.T The Bears, Boston, MA
Lansdown Street Music Hall, Boston, CT
Theodore's, Springfield, MA
Tammany Hall, Worcester, MA
The Muse, Nantucket, MA
The Met Cafe, Providence, RI
The Living Room, Providence, RI
Stone Coast, Portland, ME
Sunday River, Bethel, ME
Carmen Vernada's, Bar Harbor, ME
The Stone Church, Newmarket, NH
Stone Coast, Laconia, NH
Wetlands, New York, NY
The Lions Den, New York, NY
Pianos, New York, NY
The Elbow Room, New York, NY
Stephen Talkhouse, Amagansett, NY
Cafe 210, State College, PA
Rams Head Savage Mill, Savage Mill, MD
Rockafella's, Columbia, SC
The Georgia Theater, Athens, GA

The Montauk Music Festival, Montauk, NY
Maryland Seafood Festival, Annapolis, MD
Branford Festival, Branford, CT
Vermont State Fair, Rutland, VT
The Spencer Fair, Spencer, MA
Chester Fair, Chester, CT
Durham Fair, Durham, CT
North Haven Fireman's Fair, North Haven, CT
Sailfest, New London, CT
WPLR ChiliFest, New Haven, CT
Glastonbury Apple Festival, Glastonbury, CT
Powder Ridge Music Festival, Middlefield, CT
XL Center, Hartford, CT
Central Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University
Trinity College
Penn State University
University of South Carolina
Connecticut College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Skidmore College

Past Performers

Sister Hazel
Disco Biscuits
Deep Banana Blackout
Max Creek
Rustic Overtones
Godsmack (yes Godsmack)
Merle Sanders
Stolen Rhodes
The Breakfast
Acoustic Junction
From Good Homes
God Street Wine
Percy Hill
Ominous Seapods
Shakedown - Dead Tribute
Badfish - Sublime Tribute
The Drifters
Seth Adam
Heavy Metal Horns
The Machine - Pink Floyd Tribute
Jiggle the Handle