Primary Instrument: Piano
Leo Blanco is a Venezuelan pianist and composer. His music blends the folklore of his native country, itself a mixture of African and Spanish musical traditions, and his training as a pianist (Improvisation, Composition, Classical). At the age of ten, he began his studies of classical piano and violin at the Music Conservatory of Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. At age eleven, he became a member of the Mérida Youth Orchestra. At age 15, he was actively involved with the musical scene in Caracas. Later, Blanco attended Berklee College of Music, where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in music. Blanco received the Billboard award as best Jazz Performer Student. A year later, Blanco was the first Latin-American to receive the Boston Jazz Society Award. In 2002, he attended New England Conservatory to pursue a Master’s Degree. Here, he studied with Jerry Bergonzi, Danilo Perez, Steve Lacy, Charlie Banacos, specializing in composition and improvisation.
Blanco has performed at Newport Jazz Festival (USA), Monterey Jazz Festival (USA), North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Kobe Jazz Festival (Japan), Festival e Musica (Brazil) Festival Latino Americano (Italy), Festival Latino (Italy), Festival Tentarera (Germany), Music Festival de Paleo (Switzerland), Ohrid Music Festival (Macedonia). He has played with Dave Liebman, Jane Bunnett, Richie Flores, Luciana Souza, Bob Moses, Dave Samuels, Jamey Haddad, George Garzone, Giovani Hidalgo, John Benitez, Little Johnny Rivero, Mario Rivera and Ralph Irrizary. He was invited to perform and record a TV Broadcast for the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro, Yugoslavia. In Venezuela, he has played as guest artist with the Symphonic Orchestra of Fundayacucho, the Symphonic Orchestra of Merida and the Symphonic Orchestra of Lara.
In September 2004, Leo Blanco World Jazz Ensamble released Roots & Effect, co-produced with Jamey Haddad. This recording tastefully blends South American, Middle Eastern and African rhythms and melodic motives into his “World Jazz” style. “Leo Blanco's music does not try to stylistically cop the zone of any indigenous music,” said Jamey Haddad, world-renown drummer and a member of Paul Simon’s band. “For the most part, Leo's songs are an impressionistic fantasy on a moment in time where he challenges himself to ride the edge of the feelings that keep him on an extended musical high.”
Leo Blanco World Jazz Ensamble CD Roots & Effect (2004) is available at CD BABY.
Leo Blanco CD Africa Latina (2008) is available at iTunes Store.