I love every group I’ve played with, yet my favorite group that I’ve been privileged to co-direct with my husband, multi-instrumentalist Barry Olsen, is the quintet called Mandara. Three musicians (Vince Cherico, Bryan Carrott and Leo Traversa) were chosen not only for their incredible musicianship but for their commitment to music as a means to create healing and unity, and for their love of African and Afro-Cuban music. 

From Vibrations:The Musical Lives of Valerie Naranjo, Local 802 Allegro Magazine  March 2016 



Leo Traversa wraps and rocks the band, drawing the resonance of an acoustic on his electric, and contributing soul, depth and humor in equal part

Kitty Montgomery, Kingston Daily Freeman (pdf)


Bassist Leo Traversa, former sideman to the New York Voices, Tania Maria and Astrud Gilberto, delivers and infectious tumbao in the hot pieces and makes his instrument sing in the slower tunes. Listen to the dazzling solo in the ballad “Little Past Midnight.”

Patricia Albela, LA Jazz Scene (pdf)


 Traversa counters with a slick samba groove on “The Monster and the Flower” and adds a warm-toned Swallowesque solo to “Prague in March.”  Bass Performance: A

Bass Player Magazine Review: A View From Manhattan (pdf)


Globe-trottin’ bass prof Leo Traversa talks to Mike Visceglia about African grooves and going to school.

Bass Guitar Magazine Interview (pdf)




The rhythmic drive on this recording is life-affirming and, when you add the
rock solid bass of Leo Traversa, sitting is not an option. “Multiverse” hits the streets on August 14 – do not pass it by.

Multiverse – Bobby Sanabria


…Traversa playing with a trebly Jaco tone when it’s his turn to solo: again dynamics come to the front here.

I’ve Got the World on a String – Paul Meyers


Throughout, Leo Traversa on bass, Vince Cherico on drums and Chembo Corniel on congas provide volcanic rhythm.

Land of Nod – Syotos


The rhythm section of Fernando Merlino in piano, Leo Traversa on bass…

is superb.

Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi – Kenia


Reportedly, Music for Six Musicians is Byron’s favorite ensemble.

Jazz Times

You Are #6 – Don Byron


Bolstered by the backing crew of Leo Traversa, bass, Alex Acuna, drums, and Laudir Oliveira and Steve Thornton, percussion, Maria soon reached a bubbling climax…

Tania Maria in LA


Obsesión is the standout track…with seductive introduction from Washburne and some guitar-like electric bass support from Leo Traversa

Fields of Moons -Chris Washburne and Syotos


Drummer Teo Lima and bassist Leo Traversa, two well traveled pros, round out the rhythm section.

Simply Kenia