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Pasquale Grasso

It was the kind of endorsement most rising guitarists can only dream of, and then some. In his interview for Vintage Guitar magazine’s February 2016 cover story, Pat Metheny was asked to name some younger musicians who’d impressed him. “The best guitar player I’ve heard in maybe my entire life is floating around now, Pasquale Grasso,” said the jazz-guitar icon and NEA Jazz Master. “This guy is doing something so amazingly musical and so difficult.

“Mostly what I hear now are guitar players who sound a little bit like me mixed with a little bit of [John Scofield] and a little bit of [Bill Frisell],” he continued. “What’s interesting about Pasquale is that he doesn’t sound anything like that at all. In a way, it is a little bit of a throwback, because his model—which is an incredible model to have—is Bud Powell. He has somehow captured the essence of that language from piano onto guitar in a way that almost nobody has ever addressed. He’s the most significant new guy I’ve heard in many, many years.”

As he’s done with many rising jazz stars, Metheny later invited Grasso over to his New York pad to jam and share some wisdom. He’s since become a generous presence in Grasso’s life, and his assessment of Grasso’s playing is—no surprise—spot-on. Born in Italy and now based in New York City, the 30-year- old guitarist has developed an astounding technique and concept informed not by jazz guitarists so much as by bebop pioneers like Powell, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and the classical-guitar tradition. His new digital-only EP series, available beginning in June from Sony Masterworks, showcases Grasso in the solo-guitar format, where his intensive studies of both midcentury jazz and classical meld into a signature mastery that is, remarkably, at once unprecedented and evocative.

But whom does it evoke? After a surface listen, Joe Pass and his essential Virtuoso LPs might come to mind. Now listen again. The sparkling, immaculately balanced tone; the tasteful tinges of stride and boogie-woogie rhythm; the stunning single-note lines that connect his equally striking use of chordal harmony—for Grasso, great solo arranging equals Art Tatum.

Many serious guitar heads have been hip to Grasso for a while now and are aware of his jaw-dropping online performance videos, his beautiful custom instrument — built in France by Trenier Guitars — and his early career triumphs. In 2015, he won the Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition in New York City, taking home a $5,000 prize and performing with guitar legend Pat Martino’s organ trio. Last year at D.C.’s Kennedy Center, as part of the NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert, Grasso participated in a special performance to honor Pat Metheny, alongside his guitar-wunderkind peers Dan Wilson, Camila Meza, Gilad Hekselman and Nir Felder.

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Read "A Joyful Holiday" reviewed by Dave Linn


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Read "Linger Awhile [Deluxe Edition]" reviewed by Dave Linn


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Read "Linger Awhile" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


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Read "Samara Joy" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Samara Joy. Segnatevi il nome perché la giovanissima cantante di New York è destinata a un brillante futuro. Questo disco d'esordio—registrato nell'ottobre 2020 a 22 anni—conferma le doti per cui ha vinto il Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition del 2019. Samara Joy è un naturale talento dal timbro luminoso, che rinnova con grazia e freschezza i classici standard del suo repertorio. Ha splendide doti vocali ma non cerca di stupire con inutili forzature e rilegge la ...

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Festival

Inaugural Guitar Masters Festival Unveils Spectacular Lineup In New York City

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Source: Decibel

Charles Carlini Presents is proud to present the inaugural Guitar Masters Festival, a five-day extravaganza set to electrify New York City from April 25th to 29th, 2024. Renowned impresario Charles Carlini, the visionary behind the festival, has curated a lineup featuring some of the world’s most exceptional guitarists, promising an unparalleled celebration of guitar mastery. The festival will kick off on April 25th with an enchanting opening night gala at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium within the New York City ...

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Inaugural Guitar Masters Festival To Showcase World's Finest Guitarists In New York City

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Source: Decibel

Charles Carlini Presents is thrilled to announce the launch of the first annual Guitar Masters Festival, set to captivate music enthusiasts and guitar aficionados alike from April 26th through 29th, 2024. This four-day extravaganza will showcase some of the very finest guitarists from around the world at various premier venues across New York City. Renowned impresario and esteemed guitar maven, Charles Carlini, the visionary behind “Charles Carlini Presents,” has curated an illustrious career dedicated to the celebration of guitar mastery. ...

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

A Joyful Holiday

Verve Records
2023

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Linger Awhile

Verve Records
2022

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Samara Joy

Whirlwind Recordings
2021

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Videos

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