From Guardian Guide for 30 January 2015 (by John Fordham)
The work of the unique Venezuelan improviser and composer Leo Blanco has only recently begun to gain recognition in Europe, but he’s nothing like as well known as he should be in his homeland either. This is despite being a devoted researcher into Latin American music and a highly original exponent of fusions between that genre and jazz. Blanco uses the whole piano, setting up grooves with his stamping feet and woodwork-slapping hands, strumming the strings like a harp, then veering into jazz medleys that glimpse the styles of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and Chick Corea. Blanco is a hypnotic solo artist but an eager collaborator, too: his Vortex gig is shared with vocalist Christine Tobin and his Glasgow appearance features saxist Paul Towndrow, bassist Mario Caribé and drummer Alyn Cosker.
Pianist 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 and pop.
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 ArsNova Institute and University of Musical Studies. Soon he started working with well known jazz and Latin pop national artists.
TONIGHT LEO WILL BE JOINED BY LEADING VOCALIST CHRISTINE TOBIN