Solo Bud Powell Pasquale Grasso
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- 1Parisian Thoroughfare03:12
- 2Bouncing with Bud03:27
- 3Glass Enclosure02:33
- 6Dusk in Sandi02:51
- 7Dance of the Infidels03:09
- 8So Sorry Please03:12
- 9I'll Keep Loving You03:28
Info for Solo Bud Powell
Sony Masterworks is proud to announce the newest installment of guitar virtuoso Pasquale Grasso’s digital series: Solo Bud Powell. This series is a masterful exploration of the solo guitar format with an emphasis on Grasso’s intense studies of the jazz masters, both bebop and classical. The series – which includes Solo Standards, Vol. 1, Solo Ballads, Vol. 1, Solo Monk, Solo Holiday and Solo Masterpieces – is a revolutionary approach in a changing landscape of the modern music industry allowing a prolific recording artist to release a multitude of material over the course of an extended period of time. Additional 2020 releases will showcase Grasso exploring the works of Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.
On this stunning new album, Grasso takes all of his directions from the groundwork laid out by Bud Powell’s transcendent legacy. The classic Live at Massey Hall convened a summit meeting of five of bebop’s Founding Fathers: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. When he discovered his parents’ copy of the album at age 6, Grasso found himself drawn to Powell, fascinated by the master pianist’s daring explorations and fervent emotional expression. That admiration has only grown over the ensuing decades, as Powell’s tragic biography and undaunted passion combined to impress on the guitarist a true commitment to the music.
“I was really captured by the touch he had on the piano, with a sound that made me feel so many different emotions,” Pasquale Grasso says. Paying homage to a jazz master, not to mention one who transformed the idea of American jazz piano, in not only his compositional tone but his theory of playing, became an exciting challenge for Grasso. “Playing Bud’s compositions on guitar is very difficult. In addition to the obvious technical challenges, the more I listened to Bud, I realized that he changed his touch and phrasing constantly. Every recording was different, so I’m always learning something new from him, finding different ways to approach his tunes.”
Grasso brings his own singular meld of intricate virtuosity and personal interpretation to his versions of tunes such as the bebop classic, “Parisian Thoroughfare.” “[That song] has always been a favorite Bud tune of mine. Listen to his solo recording of it (The Genius of Bud Powell, 1956). His left hand is on fire! For me, the greatest challenge of playing this one on guitar is being able to play those triplets in a light way.”
Other songs from the album were chosen and studied for a particular reason; “Oblivion” “Hallucinations and “Dusk in Sandi” – all songs that were released in the intimate format Grasso is very familiar with; as solo recordings. “There is much to learn from his original versions. His runs and voicings offer so many things to practice, and his syncopated and swinging phrasing makes the music seem to fly to a different universe.”
Each piece unfolds with a rich and stunning sense of bold discovery, resonating with the words of Grasso’s mentor, piano great Barry Harris: “You can always learn something new from Bud. He’s one of the few artists that always plays something that you’ve never heard before.” The shared love of Bud Powell’s mastery acts as one of the connections passed down from teacher to student and this album holds an extra special connection for Grasso. “‘I’ll Keep Loving You’ is dedicated to my teacher, the great pianist Barry Harris. He plays it on every concert. I remember being eight years old, hearing him for the first time in Switzerland – it was the moment when I decided to be a musician.”
Pasquale Grasso, guitar
One of the most strikingly unique artists of his generation, Pasquale Grasso has undoubtedly changed the way the world views jazz guitar. Born in Ariano Irpino, Pasquale began playing guitar at a very young age. By the summer of 1997, his parents, who recognized the depth of their young son’s talent, sought out the instruction of jazz innovator, Agostino Di Giorgio. A former pupil of Chuck Wayne, Di Giorgio immediately took interest in Pasquale, whose prodigious aptitude for the instrument flourished as the young guitarist quickly became his closest pupil. From that point, it wouldn’t be long before news of this talent spread.
Barry Harris, the world-renowned jazz educator and bebop piano master, became an extraordinary influence when Pasquale attended his jazz workshop in Switzerland during the summer of 1998. Harris, contemporary of Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, and Cannonball Adderley, took Pasquale and his brother, Luigi, under his wing. Over the span of the next 5 years, the Grasso brothers became pillars of Harris’ international workshops and were quickly promoted from mere attendees to instructors for the other students. Pasquale was named Harris' guitar teaching assistant and for the last ten years he has conducted workshops in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Holland, and Slovenia.
In 2008, Pasquale pursued classical guitar studies in the Music Conservatory of Bologna under Professor Walter Zanetti. During his time at the conservatory, Grasso developed a new approach to the guitar, combining classical tradition with Chuck Wayne's modern technique.
In 2012, he moved to New York City and quickly made a name for himself in the city's vibrant jazz scene. Grasso became part of the Ari Roland Quartet and the Chris Byars Quartet, performing in clubs, music festivals, and recording in the studio regularly. Later that year, Pasquale was named a Jazz Ambassador with the US Embassy, going on to tour extensively across Europe, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Lithuania, and Ukraine, among others. Despite his young age, Grasso has performed with many leading musicians of the international jazz scene such as: Barry Harris, Charles Davis, Freddie Redd, Frank Wess, Leroy Williams, Ray Drummond, Murray Wall, Steve Grossman, Tardo Hammer, Jimmy Wormworth, John Mosca, Sacha Perry, Ari Roland, Luigi Grasso, Chris Byars, Zaid Nasser, Bucky Pizzarelli, China Moses, Harry Allen Quartet, Grant Stewart, Stepko Gut, Nicolas Dary, Dado Moroni, Agostino di Giorgio, Michel Pastre Big Band, Gianni Basso Big Band, Joe Cohn, Oscar Zenari, and Luca Pisani.
Pasquale’s guitar was expertly crafted for him by long time friend and luthier, Bryant Trenier. Trenier Guitars is located in Suffern, New York.
Pasquale is currently Sony Masterwork artist and he is teaching at SUNY Purchase College of Music.
This album contains no booklet.