I went to hear Laura MacDonald’s new band, the Reinvigoration Quartet on Saturday 19th, expecting some decent straightahead contemporary jazz. When they came onstage, I recognised Mario Caribe and Alyn Cosker, but had no idea who the pianist was. He turned out to be a guy from Venezuela called Leo Blanco, and to be jaw-droppingly good. Rob Adams in the Herald was equally impressed.
It wasn’t just that Blanco was a superb pianist who wrote interesting tunes: he was one of these musicians who manages to have an individual sound. Perhaps this was partly because of the Venezuelan influence: there was a definite Latin tinge to some of the music, although it was definitely jazz with a hint of Latin rather than Latin with a hint of jazz. His album “Roots and Effects” is more Latin in style, despite containing many of the tunes they played. In fact, the sleeve notes specifically state that “a choice was made NOT to include some songs of the more straight-ahead Jazz material. That material will come out at a later date”. His next album will definitely be on my shopping list when it comes out.