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  • A., Bachelor of the Arts, Berklee College of Music 1982, Major in Instrumental Performance, Dean’s List, 1981, 1982
  • A.S. Five Towns College, Merrick, N.Y. 1979, Major in Performance and Composition, Dean’s List, Five Towns Big Band, Guitar Ensemble
  • Half Hollow Hills High School East 1977, Major in Art

Teaching History

Associate Music Performance, Music Department, Columbia University. 2006-present.

  • Private bass instruction
  • Jazz and Latin ensembles
  • Columbia Business School’s “Leadership Jazz” program which works with international executives in establishing connections between Jazz performance and business relationships.
  • Performances for faculty and students

 Teaching Artist, Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Program.


  • Community outreach projects, including concerts and songwriting workshops at hospitals, community centers, schools, juvenile homes and prisons
  • 1 year residence in 2015 at Sing Sing prison coaching musicians and songwriters for three concerts

 Clinician, Bass Immersion Day 2009

  • Taught classes in African and South American Grooves
  • Performed faculty concerts along with Will Lee and Patrick Pfieffer at the Bitter End

 Founding Faculty Member, The Bass Collective, New York. 1999-present.

  • Co-founded The Bass Collective and instruct with John Patitucci, Victor Bailey and Lincoln Goines.
  • Lectures, classes, performance instruction, and private lessons.
  • Wrote the curriculums for African Pop, Caribbean and Odd Meter Fusion classes.
  • Teach Jazz, Brazilian, Latin and R+B/Funk classes
  • Authored two instructional books for Carl Fischer Publications and The Collective entitled Afro Caribbean and Brazilian Rhythms for Bass and Fusion: A Study in Contemporary Music for the Bass. 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.

 Visiting Artist, Berklee College of Music, Boston. 1996, 1998

  • Clinics and Performances in World Rhythms for Bass

 Faculty Member, The Drummer’s Collective, New York. 1987-1999

  • Lectures, classes, performance instruction.

 Adjunct Professor, City College of New York. 1997-1999.

  • Bass instruction.


Fusion: A Study in Contemporary Music for Bass 2007 Carl Fischer, Collective Contemporary Style Series

 Afro-Caribbean + Brazilian Rhythms for the Bass 2007 Carl Fischer, Collective Contemporary Styles Series

 World Rhythms [Online] Available at:

Performance History

2001 – present

  • 2015-present Touring with 70s British Progressive Rock legends Renaissance
  • 2015 Performed with Klezmer Jazz master David Krakauer’s Ancestral Grooves
  • 2015 Performed with Jessica Molaskey/John Pizzarelli’s Joni Mitchell Project featuring Larry Goldings and Duduka da Fonseca
  • 2010-present First call sub Birdland Big Band under the direction of Tommy Igoe
  • 2010-present Performances with singer/songwriter KJ Denhert
  • 2014-present Performances and recordings with Janis Seigel’s Requinte Trio
  • 2014 Toured India with John DiMartino’s Quartet of the Americas
  • 2008-1012 Toured with nine-time all Ireland violin champion Eileen Ivers at major venues, festivals, universities and symphony halls. Concerts include performances with the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra and several other major symphony orchestras as well as a multi media presentation entitled “Beyond the Bog Road” detailing the influence of Irish Americans on North American music styles such as Bluegrass, Cajun, French Canadian and Appalachian.
  • Ongoing performances with Brazilian/Jazz artists Kenia and Ivan Lins and African artist and humanitarian Angelique Kidjo
  • Began a long association in 2001 that is ongoing with Chris Washburn, musician and professor of music at Columbia University, in his SYOTOS Band of N.Y. Latin Jazz all stars. The band performed weekly for ten years at the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe and uptown jazz club, Smoke as well as recording three acclaimed CD’s.
  • Ongoing performances with two of New York’s best big bands; Tommy Igoe’s Birdland Big Band and the Bobby Sanabria Big Band.
  • Bassist for the historic July 2010 re-creation of Larry Harlow’s groundbreaking 1977 recording “La Raza Latina”. The Lincoln Center concert featured over fifty musicians under the direction of Larry Harlow and included Ruben Blades and Bobby Sanabria.
  • Performances and multiple recordings with, Kenia, The New York Voices , Aster Aweke, Downbeat Poll and Gershwin award winner Don Byron, Swiss jazz artist Marc Wagnon, French pop artist Bernard Levallier, Paul Meyers with Helio Alves and Donny McCaslin, Mandara featuring Valerie Naranjo of SNL and Barry Olson, John Margolis, Mary Gatchell, Rebecca Fanya, 2009 Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Mark Sganga, and Joe Diamond
  • Performances with The Caribbean Jazz project, Leo Gandelman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Oscar Castro Nieves, Phil Woods, Marlena Shaw, Leslie Uggams, Maucha Adnet, Tony Cedras
  • Annual performances at Pittsburg’s Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Seven Springs Jazz Festival with Jay Ashby and Marty Ashby.
  • Toured with Steve Kimock – at major festivals in the U.S. and venues in Japan.
  • Performances with legendary South African artist Dorothy Masuku , pianist and arranger Oscar Hernandez, and guitarist/composer Martino Atangana, and singer Kaissa, both from Cameroon.
  • Toured Africa with Minu Cinelu.


  • Toured internationally with Don Byron and his Music for Six Musicians project throughout Europe and the U.S. featuring concerts at the Monterey Jazz Festival and several week long stints at the Village Vanguard in New York. Performed in Mr. Byron’s “Bug Music” for juniors concert series throughout the U.K.


  • Performed with the Cesar Camargo Mariano Quartet including concerts at the Montreaux Jazz, Heinekin and Chivas Jazz Festivals in Brazil featuring Milton Nascimento, Michael Brecker, Diane Reeves and Ivan Lins.
  • Several tours of Germany under own name with a band of Germany’s best musicians, with some concerts featuring Dave Valentin on flute.
  • Performances with Brazilian artist and composer Joyce, Bill Watrous, jazz guitar legend Herb Ellis, Joanne Brackeen, Eliane Elias, Claudio Roditi and others.
  • Recordings with Gerry Mulligan, Don Byron, The N.Y. Voices, Astrud Gilberto, Japanese artists Hirai Ken and Aida Shoko in Tokyo, Eileen Ivers, Kenia and many others.


  • Toured and recorded with Astrud Gilberto throughout Europe, Japan, Indonesia, U.S.
  • Made several visits to Brazil, performing with Toninho Horta in several concerts and television shows.

1985 – 1990

  • Toured internationally with The Tania Maria Band, throughout Europe, South America, U.S., Asia and the Caribbean, including performances at the Montreaux , Lugano and North Sea Jazz Festivals and Blue Note clubs in N.Y.C. and Tokyo, Japan.
  • Performed and recorded in New York City and abroad with various international artists including Ben E. King in the U.S. and Japan, Gato Barbieri, The New York Voices, Herbie Mann.
  • Performed in the Broadway pit of “Oh Calcutta” and on several TV shows in Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.

Performance Video


  • KIM NAZARIAN – Some Morning 2015
  • REQUINTE TRIO (Janis Siegel, John di Martino, Nanny Assis) 2015
  • ERIKA – Nostalgia 2015
  • BARRY DANIELIAN – Metaphorically Speaking 2013
  • SUE MASKALERIS – Bring Nothing But Your Heart 2013
  • BOBBY SANABRIA BIG BAND – Multiverse 2012
  • KENIA – Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi 2010, Simply Kenia 2008, Live In Warsaw 1998, Project Ivan Lins 1997
  • MARC WAGNON Earth is a Cruel Master 2010, Shadow Lines 1999
  • HECTOR NIEVES – Life In The Big City 2010
  • DEBORA Debora 2010
  • CHRIS WASHBURN AND THE SYOTOS BAND – Field of Moons 2010, Paradise In Trouble 2003, Land of Nod 2006
  • GABRIELA ANDERS – Bossa Beleza 2009
  • OMEGA BUGEMBE OKELLO Kiwomera Emmeeme 2008
  • PAUL MEYERS World on a String 2007
  • SUSAN PERIERA Tudo Azul 2007
  • FRANK COLON Latin Wonder 2007
  • EILEEN IVERS – An Nollaig –An Irish Christmas 2007, Immigrant Soul 2003
  • MARY FOSTER CONKLIN Blues for Breakfast 2006
  • MINO CINELU – Quest Journey 2005
  • MARY GATCHELL – Indigo Rose 2005
  • MACHAN Machan 2004
  • PAM FLEMING – Fearless Dreamer 2003
  • JOSEPH DIAMOND – Not Your Typical New Yorker 2000, Island Garden 2002
  • JOHN MARGOLIS – Christine’s Refrigerator 2002
  • DON BYRON – You Are #6 –Music for Six Musicians 2001
  • KEN HIRAI – Unbalanced 2001
  • GERRY MULLIGAN Art of Gerry Mulligan-The Final Recordings 2000, Paraiso 1993
  • LUIS BONILLA – Escucha 2000
  • PETER ELDRIDGE –Fool No More 2000
  • EVANS AND COPPOLA Hold Back the Rain 2000
  • NEW YORK VOICES – Sing The Songs Of Paul Simon 1998, What’s Inside 1993, Hearts Of Fire 1991
  • JANET GRICE Muse 1990
  • RAF ASTOR Sin Mas Excusas 1900
  • TANIA MARIA – Forbidden Colors 1988
  • HENDRIK MEURKENS –A View From Manhattan 1993
  • STEVE SAKS – Trilogia 1990, Wheels Within Wheels 1993
  • SHOKO AIDA – Joia 1996
  • GRANT KING – Let Love Out 1997
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS – A New Home (MCG Jazz)
  • VARIOUS ATRISTS –Heirs To Jobim 1997
  • MARIO ADNET – Pentapaiva
  • DAN CAZIO + THE NY BLUE BOOK – In Spite Of It All
  • SUGARO – The Bone 1998
  • ASTRUD GILBERTO – Temperance 1997
  • DRUMMER’S COLLECTIVE 25TH Anniversary CD and DVD
  • Grant KING Let Love Out 1995

Endorsement   La Bella Strings

 Media Coverage


  • Carey, John, 2008 The Working Bassist Planet Bass, 1st, Planet Bass. Leo Traversa pp. 128-131

Articles and Interviews

  • Stagnaro, Oscar, 2009. Conceptos De Bajo -Maestros del Bajo Latino, Musico Pro-The Magazine for the Musician Jan 09 Issue pp 30-31
  • Visceglia, Michael, 2006. Globe-trottin’ Bass Prof Talks About African Grooves and Going to School, 2006 p 24
  • Burns, Doug, 2009. Interview with Leo Traversa on Latin Bass, Columbia University
  • Suesoff, Eric, 2008, Interview with Leo Traversa on Partido Alto Rhythm, Duquesne University
  • Visceglia, Michael, 2009, Interview Leo Traversa, Bass Player TV [Online] Available at:




  • Chistopher J. Washburne, Trombonist, Associate Professor of Music, Director, Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program Chair, Ethnomusicology Area,           Columbia University, Contact:
  • Oscar Stagnaro,  Bassist, Professor Bass Department,  LMS ADVISOR                   Contact:
  • Don Byron, Saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger                                           Professor of Music MSU Denver  Contact:
  • John Patitucci, Bassist, CCNY Professor of Music                                       Contact:
  • Kim Plainfield, Drummer, Educator contact:
  • Manuel Bagorro, Program Manager, The Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall                 881 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019  212-903-9829

For phone numbers or personal e-mail addresses of references please contact