Pasquale Grasso – Solo Standards (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:57 minutes | 868 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Okeh
This collection of standards spanning various jazz sub-eras is a superlative performance. The only reason that I did not give it 5 stars is because Grasso drives with his foot to the floor the whole time. It is brilliant playing but fatiguing. At moments I was worried he might even be trying to impress us.
This style of solo guitar is reminiscent of what Joe Pass did on his Virtuoso series (I even hear Pass influence in some passages, especially the way he adds some ornaments and fills) but builds on the great body of work done since Pass and of course adds Grasso’s jaw-dropping virtuosity in his own right.
Grasso plays with ceaseless respect of the groove and keeps our foot tapping even when playing extended single-note lines. Doing a guitar solo version of Cherokee is a gutsy thing to do and after a medium rubato chorus he plays at a brisk clip keeping the groove.
He is beyond masterful when playing more conventional voicings and he mixes in a heaping helping of unexpected tensions. He plays several complicated contrapuntal and multivoice lines, at times sounding like two guitarists, even more amazing in that this is all ostensibly improvised.
I would have enjoyed this more if there had been one or two tunes where he emphasized depth of emotion instead of acrobatics of the instrument. I need some time to breathe. He plays This Time The Dream’s On Me continuing to spurt out the notes and the twists and turns–brilliant technically, but the tune really wants to be felt.
Guitarists will eat this recording up. I hope it will also find a broader audience.
1. Pasquale Grasso – I’ll Remember April (05:01)
2. Pasquale Grasso – Cherokee (06:01)
3. Pasquale Grasso – All the Things You Are (05:06)
4. Pasquale Grasso – There Will Never Be Another You (04:48)
5. Pasquale Grasso – Just One of Those Things (05:32)
6. Pasquale Grasso – Star Eyes (04:13)
7. Pasquale Grasso – This Time the Dream’s on Me (05:02)
8. Pasquale Grasso – Thou Swell (04:27)
9. Pasquale Grasso – Dancing in the Dark (05:11)
10. Pasquale Grasso – Tea for Two (04:44)
11. Pasquale Grasso – My Heart Stood Still (04:46)