150

Lou Grassi's Po Band: Mo' Po

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Grassi’s star is on the rise. As one of the most frequently recorded drummers for CIMP he’s found a nurturing avenue to communicate his abundant abilities. Listeners attuned to this handful of releases have been met by a mature musician whose only limits on his music are the number of hours in the day that he can devote to his craft. This disc is several years old and in the interim since it’s release Grassi has taken part in a variety of new projects both as a leader and sideman, all which are worth seeking out. The Po’ Band is one of his most exciting assemblages and though it is only comprised of five men these five generate the dynamic range of a group twice their number.

The disc is divided into three lengthy pieces which balance structured play with collective improvisation and two shorter arrangements, one of which is a duet between Morris and Grassi. Articulated into three distinct parts the interlocking composition allows each of the players plenty of individual latitude to shape the music’s direction. A pervading sense of mutual participation colors the deep listening favored by the group and results in a wealth of intricately conceived ideas. Grassi’s fluid drums and Morris’ pulsing strings forge the propulsive energy that powers the horns into their numerous flights of spontaneous fancy.

“We Too,” a duet piece that is both brief and quiet, features some incredible pizzicato work by Morris that parallels the sound of pattering rain on pane glass. On “Air Play” the players converse in a muted vernacular of microtonal whistles and squeaks. Later in the piece the quintet subdivides into component parts and offers a wide array of instrumental combinations. “Train Ride” is the longest excursion and demonstrates the group’s passion for juxtaposing quiet and clamor. Morris and Grassi open the piece in hushed, but bristling interplay before the horn’s eventual arrival in a scurry of muted slurs and smears. Robinson’s place as the only reed makes him an integral part of the proceedings. His adroit breathing and fingering conjure a myriad of tonal possibilities from the clarinet that combine with the brass in provocative collusion. All of the pieces on the disc require some patience on the part of the listener when in comes to unraveling their mysteries and are definitely not for casual listening. Grassi’s confidence in demanding the same level of concentration from his audience as he himself applies to the creation of his music speaks again to his stature as a serious artist.


Track Listing: Mo

Personnel: Lou Grassi- drums, percussion; Perry Robinson- clarinet, ocarina; Herb Robertson- cornet, trumpet; Steve Swell- trombone; Wilbur Morris- bass.

| Record Label: CIMP Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Metasediment Rock" CD/LP/Track Review Metasediment Rock
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Still, Up In The Air" CD/LP/Track Review Still, Up In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Billows Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!