A native New Yorker, Leo Traversa has distinguished himself as a musician and educator. His extensive knowledge of a variety of musical genres and cultures and his mastery of their playing techniques, makes him one of the most versatile and proficient bassists on the scene today. Press reviews have described him as “perfect in technique and brilliant in providing instrumental background”, “master of the 5-string bass”, and “without question, one of the top bassists”.
He has performed and recorded with a wide range of internationally known artists including Tania Maria, Eliane Elias, Randy Brecker, Ben E. King, Astrud Gilberto, Michael Brecker, Joyce H, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Claudio Roditi, DaveValentin, Toninho Horta, Gerry Mulligan, The New York Voices, Oscar Hernandez, Phil Woods, Dianne Reeves, Milton Nascimento, Fantcha, Bebel Gilberto, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Herbie Mann, Kenia, Shoko Aida, Aster Aweke, Louie Bellson, Steve Kimock, Dave Kikoski, Gato Barbieri, Leslie Uggams, Duduka Da Fonseca and Maucha Adnet.
His long-term associations with Eileen Ivers, Don Byron, Paul Meyers and Chris Washurne’s Syotos Band have produced multiple recordings, tours, and ongoing associations with local clubs. His most recent highlights include performing in concert with Angelique Kidjo, Ivan Lins, Kenia and with Eileen Ivers and the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra.
His television credits include the Today Show, NBC News, New York Prime, Jazz Brasil, the Good Day Show, CNBC, Estrenas y Estrellas and many other programs in Barcelona, Chicago, Lausanne, Mexico City, Montreal and Santiago. He has appeared in the Jonathan Demme film Married to the Mob and in Paul Auster’s Lulu on the Bridgeand in the Broadway productions of Oh, Calcutta! and Beehive.
"A graduate of The Berklee College of Music in Boston, Leo is well known as a clinician and instructor. He is a Music Associate at Columbia University and a member of their Leadership Jazz program. He is also on the faculty at the Drummers Collective in New York City and along with John Patitucci is a founding and current faculty member of the Bass Collective, for which he wrote the curriculums for African Pop, Caribbean and Odd Meter Fusion classes.
"He has authored two instructional books for Carl Fischer Publications entitled, Afro Caribbean and Brazilian Rhythms for Bass, and Fusion: A Study in Contemporary Music for the Bass, and has completed text for a third independent book, Five Concepts in World Rhythms, on the subject of world music and the various skills needed to play all African influenced music including African, Caribbean, Latin and Brazilian styles.
[/testimonial]"As a Teaching Artist with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Program, and a member of SYOTOS, Leo takes part in community outreach events, concerts and songwriting workshops at senior centers, juvenile homes, and prisons. These events have been among the most rewarding of his professional life. This year he was honored to be nominated among luminaries of the jazz world in the 2012 Downbeat Readers Poll in the electric bass category.[/testimonial]