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Take Five With Frank Giasullo

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Meet Frank Giasullo:


The Frank Giasullo Quartet has created a distinctive sound, enhanced by its strong repertoire of original compositions by Frank Giasullo. Giasullo is a classically trained jazz player but his piano playing and the music he writes comes as much out of his feeling for gospel, folk, and blues as his classical and jazz background. These influences give his music a rare naturalness and ease with which listeners instantly identify, yet it also possesses emotional and musical layers that offer new delights long after the first hearing. In other words, Frank Giasullo is one of those expressive jazz musicians who uses what he knows to say what he feels.

Frank Giasullo Quartet combines thoughtful, accomplished playing with a laid-back groove and sensitive ensemble work. From cool blue to warm and lush, the FGQ eloquently reflect a breadth of feeling only possible in an acoustic jazz quartet of this quality.

Instrument(s):
Piano.

Teachers and/or influences?
Arlis Heukelekian (classical piano), John Coates, Jr., Don Friedman and Bill Mays.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
The first time I heard my piano teacher, Arlis Heukelekian, play Debussy's First Arabesque, and at the age of 13 when I saw Jimmy Smith and Thelonious Monk at a concert.

Your teaching approach:
Certain nuts and bolts in technique and theory have to be taught, but beyond that, I try to develop and encourage each student's self-confidence to discover his or her own voice.

Favorite venue:
The 606 Club in London. It's a small venue with a grand piano and great acoustics. Above all, though, owner Steve Ruby treats us like family.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Dave Brubeck's Time Out.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
My music is unique compositionally. And that draws from many influences, my classical background in particular.

Did you know...
My piano lineage follows a direct route to Beethoven, by six degrees of separation:
    Giasullo was a student of Arliss Heukelekian
    Heukelekian was a student of Madame Eva Oncken
    Oncken was a student of Conrad Ansorge
    Ansorge was a student of Franz Liszt
    Liszt was a student of Carl Czerny
    Czerny was a student of Ludwig van Beethoven


CDs you are listening to now:
Vaughan Williams, Miles Davis Quintet with Herbie Hancock, old English folk songs, Gene Harris.

Desert Island picks:
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia On A Theme by Thomas Tallis (Telarc);
Herbie Hancock, Speak Like A Child (Blue Note);
Keith Jarrett, Blue Note Sessions (ECM);
Benjamin Britten, Arrangements of English Folk Songs (Naxos).

By Day:
Private piano instructor;
Piano instructor, Moravian College, Jazz Department, Bethlehem PA.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
painter, if I could paint.


Photo Credits Gloria Krolak

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