Gina Leishman

Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, and Singer

Kamikaze Ground Crew

“KGC’s music yields pleasure on its own terms… its bent but beautiful structures providing cover from the mainstream culture’s hail of mediocrity.”
– Derk Richardson, SF Bay Guardian

“Their music is intriguing, haunting, occasionally hilarious, and irresistible.”
– Larry Kelp, East Bay Express

“What they bring together is not only a global vision and singular skills in composition and arranging, but a highly talented group of performers.”
JAZZIZ magazine

“Composed lyricism and some effortlessly cool blowing by some of New York’s best jazz players.”
– The Wire

“Tremendous musical chops and a terrific sense of play”
– Wine X

“Imagine Mingus, Carla Bley and Sun Ra sharing stories about Stravinsky in some Brooklyn bar.”
– Jazz Times

“The Kamikaze outfit takes the high dive into a dangerously shallow tank shared by circus music and serious composition, and emerges victorious”
– SF Bay Guardian

“…a group that really defines my idea of what ‘jazz’ should be, and that is it’s heavily compositionally influenced.”
– Arthur Moorehead, New World records, in PULSE magazine

“The Kamikaze Ground Crew, with saxes and accordion, was wild but grounded, taking us further into Berlioz’s manic heart than most orchestras ever could.”
– Greg Sandow, Wall St. Journal (Berlioz Birthday Bash)

“Excellent, genre-defying music.”
– amazon.com

Postcards from the Highwire

“…their sound is unmistakably downtown New York… channeling bits of German beer hall music, New Orleans brass bands, R&B, hints of klezmer, chamber and circus music through their big joyful horn sound. The highwire reference in the album’s title (is) particularly apt, as KGC love to flirt with a kind of rollicking theatricality while generally keeping their wits about them. There’s no blue in the face sax honking here, but a composed lyricism and some effortlessly cool blowing by some of New York’s best jazz players.”
– The Wire, Oct 2007

“A band of bandleaders, Kamikaze Ground Crew has difficulty getting everyone in the right place at the right time, yet the allstars converged at The Cutting Room (May 13th) for an informal release bash for Postcards from the Highwire, their fifth CD. Co-led by Gina Leishman and Doug Wieselman, with more-than-able-bodied assistance from Peter Apfelbaum, Steven Bernstein, Art Baron, Marcus Rojas and Kenny Wollesen – all musical characters in their own right – the evening was an arranger’s showcase, replete with fine charts utilizing a horn-ucopia of textures and timbres. …The solos, though short, exposed the extroverted individuality of the Crew: Rojas’ talking tuba, Apfelbaum’s casual complexity, Baron’s growling bebop, Bernstein’s tailgate trumpet and Wieselman’s bluesy filigree… KGC speaks everything from gutbucket funk, whorehouse ragtime, early Ellingtonian junglese, reggae and psychedelia, all with the loose precision and easy fluency of a veteran pit band. Check your charts for the next convergence.”
– AllAboutJazz June 2007

Yo Quiero Ser Kamikaze (transl.)
“Unexpectedly and fortunately, the beloved Kamikaze Ground Crew have returned. And they have done so in a big way, with a double disc entitled Postcards From The Highwire. We’ve been missing them. How could you not remember albums like KGC, Scenic Route, Madam Marie’s or Covers? Much time has passed and it seemed there would be no more, but no. Through the intermediary of the Busmeat label, the group … is once again amongst us… And while we’re on the subject… GL, member of the KGC, singer, pianist, ukuleleist (?). accordionist, saxophonist and other things, has a new album as a soloist … sometimes life surprises you…”
www.elintruso.com

“A compilation of sublime lightness, considering the massive presence of brass in the band, and at the same time of great substance, Postcards from the Highwire enters the saturated and standardized music market as a breath of fresh air for the mind and soul… There is great attention to compositional detail along with a well-designed use of improvisation, with care for mixing different sounds and arrangements… From a habanera to a soul classic, a blues song to a Shakespeare sonnet, and great original compositions, the music flows wonderfully, alternating quite diverse moods in a most natural way. Meticulous but fun-loving arrangements, musicians of fine sensibilities, surprising appearances of piano, guitar and voice (the latter in an old-style version of ‘O Mistress Mine’) surround the listener slowly and inexorably.”
– AllAboutJazzItalia