Skip to main content

Pasquale Grasso

Latest Release : Pasquale Plays Duke

Pasquale Plays Duke
Released 17 Sep 2021

News Feed

Videos

Press Release

Guitar Virtuoso PASQUALE GRASSO Celebrates the Legacy of Duke Ellington on Pasquale Plays Duke Out Now

  Guitar Virtuoso PASQUALE GRASSO Celebrates the Legacy of Duke Ellington on Pasquale Plays Duke Out Now   Special Guests Sheila Jordan and Samara Joy Join Bassist Ari Roland and Drummer Keith Balla   New Video “Solitude (feat. Samara Joy)” Out Today Listen Here | Watch Here   ALBUM ARTWORK: (DOWNLOAD)   (September 17 – […]
Read More

 

Guitar Virtuoso

PASQUALE GRASSO

Celebrates the Legacy of Duke Ellington on Pasquale Plays Duke

Out Now

 

Special Guests Sheila Jordan and Samara Joy

Join Bassist Ari Roland and Drummer Keith Balla

 

New Video “Solitude (feat. Samara Joy)” Out Today

Listen Here | Watch Here

 

ALBUM ARTWORK: (DOWNLOAD)

 

(September 17 – New York, NY) – Today, guitarist PASQUALE GRASSO releases Pasquale Plays Duke, available now on Sony Music Masterworks.  Pasquale Plays Duke is the second of three albums being released in 2021-2022 and follows the April launch of Solo Ballads; making its debut alongside today’s album release is a new video for “Solitude,” featuring Samara Joywatch here.

 

On this album Grasso introduces his working trio of bassist Ari Roland and drummer Keith Balla, and is joined by special guest vocalists Samara Joy and Sheila Jordan. The new release finds Grasso reimagining five Duke Ellington classics on solo guitar, alongside several collaborative tracks, performing some of Ellington’s most-cherished masterpieces including “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Cotton Tail,” with Joy and Jordan making appearances on “Solitude” and “Mood Indigo,” respectively.

 

Long before earning the endorsement of everyone from New Yorker magazine to living luminary guitarist Pat Metheny and recording a series of solo EPs and albums for Sony Music Masterworks, Grasso grew up in the quaint and quiet Italian town of Ariano Irpino. At six-years-old, Pasquale developed a bond with his guitar that ignited an unbelievable journey from the Italian countryside to international renown.

 

After attending the Conservatory of Bologna, the U.S. Embassy enlisted Grasso as its Jazz Ambassador. He embedded himself in New York City’s jazz community through a standing gig with late saxophonist Charles Davis. Among many standout performances, he won the 2015 Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition and shared the stage with Pat Martino’s organ trio. In 2018, he appeared at the NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., delivering a show-stopping homage to honor Pat Metheny who christened him “The best guitar player I’ve heard in maybe my entire life.”

 

Signing to Sony Music Masterworks, Grasso kicked off his solo EP/album series in 2019 with Solo Standards, Vol. 1, Solo Ballads, Vol. 1, Solo Monk, and Solo Holiday. His momentum continued in 2020 with yet another string of solo releases Solo Bird, Solo Masterpieces, Solo Standards, and Solo Bud Powell, earning the praise of New Yorker magazine, “Pasquale Grasso can play guitar like ringing a bell.”

 

Grasso shows off his technique early on in the album, with the introduction of “It Don’t Mean a Thing” – watch the music video here. The silky, vintage guitar tone makes it sound like a Johnny Smith or Tal Farlow LP from the 1950s. “I’ve always loved the guitar sound from the ’40s and ’50s and I love the sound of classical guitar,” says Grasso.

 

The featured vocals of Samara Joy and Sheila Jordan add even more texture to the already vintage sound. Joy is only 21 and graduated this May from SUNY Purchase, thirty five miles north of her native Bronx. Immediately, the natural strength and richness of her voice grabs the listeners’ attention. Her feature on the track “Solitude” is another reassurance to these claims. A powerful yet soft sound blends with Grasso’s beautiful scales, producing a sound reminiscent of a live performance from the great Ella Fitzgerald.  Watch the accompanying music video here.

 

Sheila Jordan is featured on “Mood Indigo.” Her decades-long experience in the jazz scene shines in her vocals throughout the track. Since the release of her 1962 Blue Note debut Portrait of Sheila, Jordan has become known as one of the most creative living jazz singers. She is one of the few vocalists who can improvise lyrics, which often rhyme, is a superb scat singer, and is also an emotional interpreter of ballads. During the track, the runs of Grasso’s guitar are matched by the impressive scatting of Jordan throughout the feature. It creates a back and forth battle before falling back into a final verse of soft vocals about feeling blue, hence the title “Mood Indigo.”

 

The classic jazz sound of Art Tatum, an inspiration of Grasso’s, stays present throughout the album. His influence is apparent in the transitional runs that play a major part in much of Grasso’s improvisations, and whole-tone scales are able to take us from one chord to the next throughout the album. Tracks such as “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Cotton Tail,” “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Day Dream,” carry the listener up and down a flurry of intense and elegant scales.

 

Reflections in D”, the final track, slows the tempo so as to relax and wind down the album. The silky sound is still present, the tone being presented much to the name of the track, a reflection on everything heard in the prior twelve songs of Pasquale Plays Duke. All the same aspects are maintained, yet, this particular piece allows more space and time to experience Pasquale Grasso’s artistry.

 

An impeccable technician and ardent melodist on guitar

WGBO

 

Grasso has developed an approach to his instrument that frequently seems to hover

right at the extreme bounds of the possible

JazzTimes

 

Impeccable virtuosity

Jazziz

 

 

PASQUALE PLAYS DUKE

TRACKLIST –

  1. It Don’t Mean a Thing
  2. Blue Rose
  3. Prelude to a Kiss
  4. Solitude (feat. Samara Joy)
  5. Cotton Tail
  6. Warm Valley
  7. Mood Indigo (feat. Sheila Jordan)
  8. In a Sentimental Mood
  9. Wig Wise
  10. All Too Soon
  11. Day Dream
  12. In A Mellow Tone
  13. Reflections in D

 

PASQUALE GRASSO – 2021 TOUR DATES

September 11        Cleveland, OH, USA / Tri-C Jazz Festival (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

September 13        New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

September 18        Bowling Green, OH, USA / Wolfe Center for the Arts

September 20        New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

September 23        New York, NY, USA / Birdland (Pasquale Grasso Trio)

September 24        Old Lyme, CT, USA / Side Door (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

September 25        Old Lyme, CT, USA / Side Door (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

September 27        New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

October 1                Cape May, NJ, USA / Exit Zero Jazz Festival (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

October 4                New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

October 5-10         New York, NY, USA / 54 Below (with Laura Benanti)

October 11             New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

October 17             New York, NY, USA / Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

October 18             New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

October 25             New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

October 30             Turku, FINLAND / Logomo Teatro Hall (Flame Jazz Festival) (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

October 31             Eindhoven, NETHERLANDS / So What’s Next Festival (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 3           Stuttgart, GERMANY / The Bix Club (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 5           Madeira, PORTUGAL / Centro de Congressos da Madeira (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 6           Nice, FRANCE / Grande Auditório (Caldas Nice Jazz) (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 8           London, UK / Ronnie Scott’s (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 10         Catania, ITALY / Teatro ABC (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 11         Paris, FRANCE / Duc des Lombards (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 12         Paris, FRANCE / Duc des Lombards (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso)

November 15         New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

November 22         New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

November 29         New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow (duo performance with Ari Roland)

December 10         Fayetteville, AK, USA / Walton Center (Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio)

FOR THE LATEST TOURING NEWS AND TICKETING INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT PASQUALEGRASSO.COM/SHOWS

 

APPROVED PRESS SHOT (CREDIT STEFANIA CURTO): DOWNLOAD

 

For more information on Pasquale Grasso, please visit:
Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

 

Sony Music Masterworks comprises Masterworks, Sony Classical, Milan Records, XXIM Records, and Masterworks Broadway imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.sonymusicmasterworks.com/.

 

###

 

Press Release Download PDF

Photos

To download individual photos, click on a photo above to enlarge it. Right click (PC) or ctrl + click (MAC) and choose and choose "save image as...".