Born and raised in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, in 1979, Genovese discovered music through a variety of sources. At home, his mother played classical piano. In addition, he gravitated to the rock and pop – and later the blues and jazz – of his native country as well as the U.S.
The creative awakening took him to Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2001. “Looking back on that period now, I don’t know if I really had it clear in my mind yet exactly what I was doing or what I was about,” he recalls. “Maybe it was an alien who took my hand and walked me through all that, and just led me there somehow. I woke up in this cold town, and everyone spoke in a language that I could barely understand for the first six months.”
Despite the language and cultural barriers, he learned plenty at Berklee – under the tutelage of numerous high‐caliber teachers, including Danilo Perez, Joanne Brackeen, Frank Carlberg and Ed Tomassi. He graduated in 2003 and immediately began performing and recording. His first album was a small, independently released set called Haikus II, released in 2004. Unlocked followed in 2008. In hindsight, Genovese sees these two recordings as little more than quickly crafted snapshots of where he was on the artistic continuum at the time. “I recorded each of them in maybe six hours,” he says. “Imagine taking a couple hours to set up, doing one take of each song, and then calling that a record. Maybe it was just a way to document where I was at the time.”
When he’s not touring with Spalding, Genovese – who is currently based in New York – also plays with a loosely assembled group called the Chromatic Gauchos, whose core membership includes Bob Gulloti, Dan Blake and John Lockwood. This threesome, along with Spalding and percussionist Sergio Miranda, appears prominently on Seeds.
Leo bakes bread, directs amateur films, owns cassettes, loves the sun and is currently teaching himself how to play the saxophone and other instruments.