Pasquale Grasso’s New Covers Compilation Will Find Enjoyment Among Most Jazz Fans

Courtesy: Sony Music Entertainment

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk are three of the most well-known and respected figures in the history of jazz.  That goes without saying.  Their music has been covered countless times by just as many acts throughout the decades, and now jazz guitarist Pasquale Grasso has added his name to that list with his new compilation record, Be-Bop!  Released Friday through Sony Music Entertainment, the 10-song set is an interesting new take on the trio’s works what with the re-imagined, guitar-based takes on the songs.  One of the most notable of the covers is that of Charlie Parker’s timeless classic ‘Ornithology.’  Coming late in the album’s 43-minute run time, the song will be examined shortly. Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ruby, My Dear,’ which comes early in the collection, is another of the notable additions to the record.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Groovin’ High,’ which closes the compilation, is one more notable addition to the set.  It was originally recorded by Parker and Gillespie together.  It will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the set’s featured works, the whole makes the compilation a presentation that most jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.

Be-Bop!, the new covers compilation from jazz guitarist Pasquale Grasso, is a presentation that most jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.  Each of the covers featured throughout the record does its own share to support the noted statement.  Among the most notable of the covers is that of Parker’s ‘Ornithology.’  Grasso takes on Parker’s lead through his performance on the guitar.  The piano line that compliments the saxophone and horns in the original is absent here, but the arrangement still works relatively well as Grasso works his way through the song.  Drummer Keith Balla’s steady time keeping on the hi-hat and snare is a welcome less-is-more approach here.  Meanwhile bassist Ari Roland’s low-end does well to take the place of the piano line and compliment Grasso’s performance at the same time.  The whole is a unique update on a song that originally is quite lively.  Grasso and company’s rendition is lively in its own right, but yet so much more relaxed at the same time.  It is well worth hearing and just one of the songs that makes this compilation overall worth hearing.  The trio’s take of Monk’s ‘Ruby, My Dear’ is another notable cover.

Just as Grasso and company really pull things back in their take of ‘Ruby, My Dear.’  The original song, both as performed solo by Monk and with the Thelonious Monk Quartet – which featured John Coltrane on saxophone, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums – was reserved in its own right.  Monk’s solo performance features just him on the piano gliding along in an almost bluesy approach and sound.  The quartet’s rendition of the song is more romantic in its sound and approach but still reserved in its own right.  Grasso and company lean their rendition more in the vein of Monk’s solo performance with Grasso leading the way gently through his guitar performance.  Balla’s subtle, gentle performance on the snare and hi-hat pairs with Grasso’s performance to enrich the performance even more.  The subtlety of Roland’s performance on the bass, both as he provides the backing and as he starts to shine late in the song in his semi-solo, adds its own nice touch to the arrangement.  The overall approach taken here by the trio gives the song so much depth and warmth even in its simplicity and shows even more why this compilation is worth hearing.  It is not the last of the songs that serve that purpose either. 

‘Groovin’ High,’ which closes the record, is one more example of what makes the set worth hearing.  The original composition was performed by Gillespie and Parker and is quite energetic.  Grasso, Balla and Roland bring the song their own energy to the song while still staying true to the source material.  There is no denying that at times, Grasso’s performance gives the song something of an easy listening bend at times, but he manages thankfully to keep that to a minimum, instead managing to bring out more of the swing approach of the original in the long run.  The result here is a song that despite being led by a guitar line, is still an engaging and entertaining presentation in its own right.  When it is considered alongside the other covers examined here and with the rest of the record’s covers, the whole makes this set a presentation that most jazz fans will find successful.

Be-Bop!, the new covers set from jazz guitarist Pasquale Grasso, is an interesting collection of covers of songs from Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk.  The songs each take a unique jazz guitar-led approach to the famed musicians’ works.  Each stays as true as possible to the source material while also giving the works slightly new identities.  The songs examined here do well to support that statement.  When they are considered alongside the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes Be-Bop! A presentation that most jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.

Be-Bop! is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Pasquale Grasso’s latest news at:

Website: https://pasqualegrasso.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grassopasquale

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paskbud88

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Craft Recordings To Re-Issue Monk/Coletrane Collection On Vinyl Next Month

Courtesy: Craft Recordings

Craft Records will re-issue a collection of live recordings from John Coletrane and Thelonious Monk next month.

Thelonious Monk with John Coletrane: The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings will be released June 9 in a deluxe vinyl box set and can be pre-ordered online now via Amazon. The new re-issue will feature new box art, rare photos and 1800-gram vinyl discs re-mastered from the recordings’ original analog masters.  The recordings will be available on hi-res digital platforms, too.

Audiences can watch a video presenting the collection’s unboxing online now here.  Craft Recordings President Sig Sigworth said the importance of the collection made it an obvious choice for a first impression from the fledgling company.

“Craft Recordings is built on a dedication to create innovative, high-quality releases,” Sigworth said.  “The intersection of John Coletrane and Thelonious Monk in 1957 defines high-quality and innovation, so it was an easy choice to have this unique package be Craft Recordings’ debut release.”

The upcoming collection holds special significance being released this year because 2017 marks what would have been Monk’s 100th birthday.  He and Coletrane are not the only big jazz names featured on the recordings.  Also featured in the collection are the likes of Art Blakey, Wilbur Ware, Coleman Hawkins, Shadow Wilson, Ray Copeland and Gigi Gryce.

The collection’s liner notes were written by Orrin Keepnews.

The complete track listing for the 3-LP collection is noted below.

Track List:

Disc One           

A1. Monk’s Mood [false start]

A2. Monk’s Mood

A3. Crepuscule with Nellie [take 1]

A4. Crepuscule with Nellie [take 2]

A5. Crepuscule with Nellie [breakdown]

B1. Blues for Tomorrow [first stereo release]

B2. Crepuscule with Nellie [edited: retakes 4 & 5]

Disc Two

A1. Crepuscule with Nellie [retake 6]

A2. Off Minor [take 4]

A3. Off Minor [take 5]

A4. Abide with Me [take 1]

A5. Abide with Me

B1. Ephistrophy [short version]

B2. Ephistrophy

B3. Well, You Needn’t [opening]

Disc Three                                       

A1. Well, You Needn’t

A2. Ruby, My Dear [with Coleman Hawkins]

B1. Ruby, My Dear [with John Coltrane]

B2. Nutty

B3. Trinkle, Tinkle

More information on Thelonious Monk with John Coletrane: The Complete 1957 Recordings is available online now at http://craftrecordings.com.

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Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.