In a one London concert before touring Scotland this marvellous Venezuelan jazz pianist and composer will play on Thursday 20th June at 7.30 pm at The Bolívar Hall.
Leo Blanco is a Venezuelan pianist, arranger and composer. Leo grew up in Mérida-Venezuela, where from early age he was surrounded by Venezuelan folklore – a blend of African and European musical traditions– as well as jazz, classical music and pop. At the age of 11 he already was a member of the Mérida Youth Symphony Orchestra.
After moving to Caracas at the age of 16 he performed and recorded with his own Jazz trio, while studying Improvisation, jazz harmony and piano at the musical Institute “Ars Nova” and University of Musical Studies. Soon he started working with very well-known jazz and Latin pop national artists. There, he shared the stage with major international jazz artist such as Terence Blanchard, Danilo Perez, Pat Metheny, Chucho Valdez (Irakere), Joao Bosco, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
His interest in world music and jazz took him to Boston in 1996, where he obtained a full scholarship to study composition and improvisation in both Berklee and then New England Conservatory. In March 1996, Leo was the first Latin American to win the prestigious “Boston Jazz Society Award”, and in May of the same year, he received the Billboard Grant Award for his “talent, commitment, achievement and other attributes indicating that he is likely to make a significant contribution to society through music. He was also commissioned to write a new piece “End of the Amazonia” for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
He has played with highly acclaimed artists such as Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Luciana Souza, Bob Moses, Dave Samuels, Jamey Haddad, Antonio Sanchez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jane Bunnett.
In the international arena, Leo has been a guest of renowned World Music and Jazz Festivals, such as Newport Jazz Festival (USA), Monterey Jazz Festival (USA), North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Edinburgh’s International Festival (Scotland), Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Kobe Jazz Festival (Japan), Festival de Música (Brazil), Festival Latino Americano (Italy), Festival Latino (Italy), Festival Tentarera (Germany), Music Festival de Paleo (Switzerland).
Blanco’s most recent Album CD is “AFRICA LATINA’ on the European label Ayva with notable musicians like saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Antonio Sánchez and guitarist Lionel Louke, among others. This new recording is “an excursion through the music hinterland of African music influenced on Venezuela, Colombia and Peru.”
“Leo Blanco is a pianist who has mastered the bebop lexicon while also paying homage to the rhythms of his nation’s folk music.”
– The Stage, London, England
“In Leo Blanco’s music I hear memory and desire – both his meticulous ear for the varieties of South American tradition”
– Christopher Lydon, NPR U.S.
“When you listen to Leo play it just blows you away while motivates you. He just inspires and gives you new sensations”…..
World Pianist and Composer Danilo Perez (Wayne Shorter)
“It is some of the most fresh and moving music I’ve heard in a long time. Leo Blanco has a gift for melody and his playing is just as special”
-Donald Brown (Master pianist: Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers)