Magazzino Italian Art Foundation had an evening of art, jazz, and apertivi as part of our annual holiday concert series. For this year’s program, the Pasquale Grasso Quartet performed a selection of classical jazz, from Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane.
Born in Ariano Irpino, Italy and based in New York City, Pasquale Grasso is considered one of the most strikingly unique artists of his generation—an artist who has changed the way the world views jazz guitar. Having learned how to play guitar at a very young age, Grasso found an important mentor in jazz innovator Agostino Di Giorgio, a former student of Chuck Wayne. His career has been equally shaped by bepop-piano royal Barry Harris, who helped him to refine a distinctive perspective and approach to jazz music.
When asked to name the leading young musicians of our time, Pat Metheny, the jazz-guitar icon and NEA Jazz Master, said of Grasso: “The best guitar player I’ve heard in maybe my entire life is floating around now, Pasquale Grasso. […] 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.”
For this holiday concert at Magazzino, Grasso on modern plectrum guitar was joined by Ari Roland on double bass, Keith Balla on drums, and Stefano Doglioni on bass clarinet.
Magazzino galleries were open to the public until 5:00 p.m., and reopened to ticket holders at 5:30 p.m. Apertivi was served at 6:00 p.m. and the concert began at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets to the event were available here.
All ticket purchases were donated to RxArt, a nonprofit organization that commissions contemporary artists to transform children’s healthcare facilities with immersive installations, with the mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art.
How to get there:
For people coming from New York City, the best way to have enjoyed the entirety of the evening's festivities was by taking the train which departed from Grand Central Terminal at 4:45 p.m. and arrived at Cold Spring Station at 6:08 p.m.
For guests who were traveling by train on Metro-North, Magazzino shuttle vans ran between Magazzino and the Cold Spring train station before and after the event. Carpooling was recommended, as parking was limited.
About Pasquale Grasso, Modern Plectrum Guitar
Pasquale Grasso, born in Ariano Irpino, Italy, began playing guitar at a very young age. Grasso’s principle instruction was with Chuck Wayne's student and jazz guitar innovator, Agostino Di Giorgio. Grasso’s prodigious aptitude for the guitar only grew as he quickly became Di Giorgio's closest pupil. Another extraordinary influence in Grasso’s career has been bebop piano master and world-renowned jazz educator, Barry Harris. Pasquale has served as Harris' guitar teaching assistant for the last ten years, conducting workshops in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Holland, and Slovenia. In 2008, Pasquale pursued classical guitar studies in the Music Conservatory of Bologna under Professor Walter Zanetti. During his time at the conservatory, Grasso developed a new approach to the guitar, combining classical tradition with Chuck Wayne's modern technique. In 2012, Grasso moved to New York City and quickly made a name for himself in the city's vibrant jazz scene. Grasso became part of the Ari Roland Quartet and the Chris Byars Quartet, performing in clubs and music festivals, and recording in the studio regularly. Later that year, Pasquale was named a Jazz Ambassador with the U.S. Embassy, going on to tour extensively across Europe, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Lithuania, and Ukraine, among others. Despite his young age, Grasso has performed with many leading musicians of the international jazz scene such as: Barry Harris, Charles Davis, Freddie Redd, Frank Wess, Leroy Wiliams, Ray Drummond, Murray Wall, Steve Grossman, Tardo Hammer, Jimmy Wormworth, John Mosca, Sacha Perry, Ari Roland, Luigi Grasso, Chris Byars, Zeid Nasser, Bucky Pizzarelli, China Moses, Harry Allen Quartet, Grant Stewart, Stepko Gut, Nicolas Dary, Dado Moroni, Agostino di Giorgio, Michel Pastre Big Band, Gianni Basso Big Band, Joe Cohn, Oscar Zenari, and Luca Pisani.
About Ari Roland, Double Bass
As a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, Ari has led over 140 cultural diplomacy programs throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has toured and recorded with many of the most significant figures in jazz of the last three decades, including Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Barry Harris, Lou Donaldson, Harry Connick Jr, Dakota Staton, Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander, and Marcus Roberts. A fully professional bassist in New York City at the age of 16, he also received classical training at the Juilliard School.
About Keith Balla, Drums
A native of Austin, Texas, drummer Keith Balla began playing at the age of 13, inspired by his older brother–also a musician. Soon after, Balla met jazz pianist Marc Devine who provided him with a wealth of invaluable playing experience at many Austin music venues, and exposed him to the rich lineage of jazz drummers. After moving to New York at 17, Balla sought the tutelage of the great drummer/educators Kenny Washington and John Riley, and found equal inspiration in the performances of master drummers such as Leroy Williams, Fukushi Tainaka, Jimmy Wormworth, Jackie Williams, Joe Farnsworth, Clifford Barbaro, Steve Little, Taro Okamoto, and the archival recordings of the late Jimmy Lovelace. He quickly found himself immersed in the fertile jazz community of New York City, performing at many of New York’s finest jazz venues such as Smalls, Mezzrow, Smoke, The Metropolitan Room, The Jazz Gallery, and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. In addition to forging strong musical ties to the myriad of talented young jazz musicians on the New York scene, Balla has had the good fortune to perform alongside some elder jazz giants, such as pianist/composer of Blue Note Records fame, Freddie Redd, the late tenor saxophone master Charles Davis, vocal legend Annie Ross, and famed pianist and bebop pedagogue Dr. Barry Harris. Since 2008, often working under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State with the Ari Roland Quartet, he has performed and conducted workshops in 51 countries throughout Africa, Europe, East and Central Asia, and the Middle East. Since 2012, he has also been closely associated with two of Europe’s finest talents: saxophonist Luigi Grasso and guitarist Pasqual Grasso, touring extensively in France and Italy as a member of the Luigi Grasso Quartet, and as a member of the Pasquale Grasso Trio in New York City.
About Stefano Doglioni, Bass Clarinet
Jazz bass clarinetist Stefano Doglioni was born in 1986 in Feltre, Italy. He began playing classical clarinet at the age of 9 and since 2004 he dedicated himself exclusively to the bass clarinet.
His mentors include Barry Harris, Charles Davis, Chris Byars, John Ruocco, Barend Middelhoff.
Stefano has performed in Italy, Holland, Switzerland, France, Africa, and the USA, and he has had the privilege to work with notable musicians Freddie Redd, Franz Elsen, Charles Davis, Leroy Williams, Jimmy Wormworth, Ari Roland, Chris Byars, Sacha Perry, John Mosca, Clifford Barbaro, Luigi Grasso, Pasquale Grasso, Zaid Nasser, Keith Balla, Alex Hoffman, The Mingus Orchestra, William Ash, Neal Miner, Tyler Mitchell, Tardo Hammer, Billy Drummond, and Grant Stewart.
RxART is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. We commission exceptional contemporary artists to transform sterile healthcare facilities into engaging and inspiring environments full of beauty, humor and comfort. For nearly 20 years, RxART has completed almost 50 projects with 60 artists in hospitals throughout 18 cities in the U.S. RxART produces every project at no cost to the hospitals. Every artist is provided with an honorarium and the chance to transform the lives of children as they heal. In order to help advance RxArt’s worthy cause, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu have elected RxArt to be the recipient of all donations made to Magazzino Italian Art. Every dollar donated by our guests to RxArt will be matched by Nancy and Giorgio.