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Danny Grissett

Originally from Los Angeles, California, pianist/composer Danny Grissett is a relatively new addition to the New York jazz scene. He started playing the piano at age five, and began studying classically when he turned six. Danny continued his classical training through high school and college, earning his B.A. in Music Education in 1998, while developing a love for jazz along the way. He further explored his love for jazz in graduate school, earning his M.F.A in Jazz Performance from Cal Arts in 2000, and completing studies at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute in 2001. There he studied with jazz masters such as Barry Harris, Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Barron, Bobby Watson, Jimmy Heath and Carl Allen.

Also during this time he began to establish himself on the LA Jazz scene with the guidance of one of his mentors, drummer Billy Higgins. He began performing more often with distinguished local and touring artists such as Billy Higgins, George Coleman, Jackie McLean, and Ralph Moore. In 2002 he joined drummer Roy McCurdy in the trio of John Heard, (bassist formerly with the trios of Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson.) The invaluable time spent with Heard and McCurdy, playing clubs frequently, talking about music and the scene in NY, proved to be instrumental in cultivating Grissett’s ever increasing thoughts about moving east.

In the summer of 2003 Danny moved to New York, and within the first few months of Grissett’s arrival, he became a sideman of choice for artists such as Vincent Herring and Vanessa Rubin. You can hear Danny on Vincent Herring’s Mr. Wizard, Ends and Means on High Note, and Live at the Bird’s Eye. He has also been a member of Tom Harrell’s quintet for the last 4 years, appearing on the last two releases from the great trumpeter Light On (2007) and Prana Dance (2008).

In 2006 Danny made his debut as a leader with his first trio recording Promise on the Criss Cross Jazz label, a debut Allmusic.com called “…exquisite, and easily one of the best debuts of 2006.” His second trio recording Encounters was released the following year and he continued to catch the ears of his peers, music lovers, and critics alike. Grissett has been featured in the bands of Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson, Buster Williams, Russell Malone, and most recently Jeremy Pelt. He has also been busy as a studio musician, recording with the aforementioned Pelt, as well as Jimmy Green, Lage Lund, and Tom Harrell.

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Album Review

Jim Rotondi: Finesse

Read "Finesse" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Finesse is trumpeter Jim Rotondi's ninth recording as a leader but his first using a full orchestra including strings. The band and string section are from Austria, where Rotondi presently lives, performs, and teaches, and each one is quite good. As for Rotondi, besides playing superb trumpet--open or muted--he wrote every song on the album save for two brief “introductory" pieces by Jakob Helling who was the arranger on every number. As if that many instruments weren't ...

Liner Notes

Tom Harrell: Number Five

Read "Tom Harrell: Number Five" reviewed by John Kelman

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," they say, and since coming to HighNote in 2007, trumpeter Tom Harrell has lived by that old adage, utilizing the same quintet for its auspicious debut, Light On, and three subsequent recordings, culminating in 2011's outstanding Time of the Sun. Number Five continues Harrell's winning streak with the same line-up, but if each successive recording has reflected the ongoing growth of one of today's most compelling small groups--the chemistry deeper and the interaction ...

Liner Notes

Jimmy Greene: Gifts and Givers

Read "Jimmy Greene: Gifts and Givers" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

The two-tenor battle is not a new idea, with iconic pairings from the jazz pantheon running the gamut from Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray to Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin. In more recent times, Eric Alexander and Grant Stewart have fueled the fire with their own incendiary adventures as heard on the current albums Wailin' (Criss 1258) and Cookin' (Criss 1283). As with any healthy blowing session, the idea is to keep each player on his toes while pushing ...

Album Review

Theo Croker: Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XII: Sketches of Miles

Read "Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XII:  Sketches of Miles" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Let us just cut to the chase and say this is a terrific collection of live concert interpretations and arrangements of acoustic Miles Davis music, drawing from recordings originally released between 1956 and 1968. This period arguably includes his most beloved output, with a place in the hearts of most jazz fans. The first disc in the set focuses on the Miles Davis Quintet, as played by the Theo Croker Quartet. The second disc is devoted to Davis's large ensemble ...

Album Review

Anne Mette Iversen Quartet + 1: Racing a Butterfly

Read "Racing a Butterfly" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

A working collective since 2002, Anne Mette Iversen's quartet—saxophonist John Ellis, pianist Danny Grissett, drummer Otis Brown III and Iversen herself on bass—has developed a unique musical language, which transcends typical stigmas of the genre and demonstrates a special sense of light-footedness in navigating through the different bars and meters, all the while evading the self-indulgent. Augmented to a quintet with the addition of trombonist Peter Dahlgren, Racing A Butterfly sees Iverson building on concepts introduced on past outings Milo ...

Album Review

Anne Mette Iversen: Racing a Butterfly

Read "Racing a Butterfly" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Many can surely recall the sunny, childlike fervor and bounce chasing a butterfly. Whether it was the park behind the projects or a rolling, rural vista, a feeling of wonder and wander settled into our core memory, only to be summoned in up from the subconscious to displace the current. Even if but for a moment. Even if but for the forty-eight or so minutes of Racing a Butterfly's capering wit. No one is afraid to follow a ...

Multiple Reviews

Danny Grissett: Encounters & Waldron Mahdi Ricks

Read "Danny Grissett: Encounters & Waldron Mahdi Ricks" reviewed by Elliott Simon

Ghostliness permeates both pianist Danny Grissett's Encounters and trumpeter/ flugelhornist Waldron Mahdi Ricks' eponymous album. Grissett is on Ricks' debut as a leader and leads a trio for his sophomore effort.

The sessions showcase two sides of the young pianist--one who can most certainly swing in a modern jazz way, but who also has the rarer ability to convey subtle feeling through touch and comps. Ricks, especially on flugelhorn, appears to be a likeminded romantic whose compositions, delicate tone and ...

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Performance / Tour

Jerome Sabbagh/Danny Grissett Duet - Miles Cafe - September 4

Jerome Sabbagh/Danny Grissett Duet - Miles Cafe - September 4

Source: Jerome Sabbagh

"...he plays with an effortless brilliance that distinguishes him as one of the top three young pianists on the contemporary scene..."

~ All Music Guide

"...exquisite...Promise is easily one of the best jazz debuts of 2006, and should rank high on any self-respecting list of the great jazz releases of the year."

.... "it’s a risky decision to make your debut recording in a trio setting, but pianist Danny Grissett need not worry -- he deserves nothing but acclaim for this set, one of the best maiden voyages that I have heard in years." [About PROMISE (Criss Cross-2006)] ...by C. Andrew Hovan, AAJ.

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Bernstein in Vienna

Origin Records



Cellar Records


Racing a Butterfly



Moving Picture

HighNote Records



Savant Records



From: Bernstein in Vienna
By Danny Grissett



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