Today, Pasquale Grasso shares his new single “I’m in a Mess” featuring special guest vocalist Samara Joy, a jivey mid-tempo swinger which was originally sung by Joe Carroll on Dizzy Gillespie’s 1951 album, School Days – listen here.
Of the song, PASQUALE GRASSO says, “Playing ‘I’m in a Mess’ reminds me of a period in my life that wasn’t too easy for me, but helped me realize who I really am and who I want to be. Of course, musically, it’s always such a pleasure to accompany such an incredible talent as Samara.”
“Pasquale and I were on the way back to NY after a gig in Philly,” adds collaborator SAMARA JOY, “and he put on ‘I’m in a Mess’ in the car, asking if I’d ever heard it. I hadn’t but loved it, so from that moment we added it to our repertoire. It’s played wonderfully on record and sung by the great Joe Carroll, and it’s a pleasure to be able to play it with that same attitude and vibe with an incredible musician like Pasquale.”
“I’m in a Mess” is the latest track off of Grasso’s new album BE-BOP! and follows last month’s release of “A Night in Tunisia.” Available for preorder now, BE-BOP! sees Grasso backed by his working trio of bassist Ari Roland and drummer Keith Balla performing a selection of classic songs in tribute to be-bop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker including “Shaw ‘Nuff,” “Groovin’ High,” “Cheryl” and “Ornithology,” as well as Thelonious Monk’s gorgeous ballad “Ruby, My Dear,” and the lush “Lamento Della Campagnia,” which is based on the Billie Holiday torch song “Some Other Spring.”
About the album, Pasquale Grasso says: “Bird, Diz and Bud were my Supermen growing up, and this recording represents my love for the swing and bop eras. Weirdly, this is the music I grew up listening to in the south of Italy from when I was six. All of these songs put me in my ‘happy place’ – whenever I want to have a great time, I know which songs to play.”
ABOUT PASQUALE GRASSO
Born and raised in Ariano Irpino in Southern Italy’s Campania region, Grasso relocated to New York City in 2009 and has since been wowing audiences with regular appearances at Mezzrow, Smalls and The Django, where he has showcased his tremendous command of the fretboard by freely moving between single notes, chords and independent bass lines while flashing Art Tatum-esque filigrees with uncanny speed and precision. “Since I was a little kid, I always had this sound in my head, then slowly it’s coming out,” he explained. “I was never too much influenced by guitar players, for some reason. I grew up listening to Art Tatum, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Those were my guys. For guitar, I always liked Charlie Christian and Oscar Moore, but I never really listened to too much guitar players. Of course, when I hear Barney Kessel and Chuck Wayne and Jimmy Raney, I love them. They’re all great artists but they never really got me when I was a kid. I was more into Bird and Bud, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong. So I was always more influenced by horn players and piano players than guitar players.”
In 2015, Pasquale won the Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition in New York City, including performing with guitar legend Pat Martino’s organ trio. Grasso was subsequently signed to an exclusive deal with Sony Masterworks, which led to his initial series of digital releases in 2019. Working with the simpatico rhythm tandem of Roland and Balla again, the great guitarist takes things up a notch on Be-Bop!
“Obviously, I think the older you get the more you understand,” Grasso said. ‘When you’re in your twenties, you just want to play everything you know. But over time, you realize that music is not about that — it’s about telling a story and making somebody feel certain emotions. I love Lester Young for that. That’s the beauty of music.”
PASQUALE GRASSO – BE-BOP!
1. A Night in Tunisia
3. Ruby, My Dear
4. Shaw ‘Nuff
5. I’m in a Mess – featuring Samara Joy
9. Lamento Della Campagnia
10. Groovin’ High
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Sony Music Masterworks comprises Masterworks, Sony Classical, Milan Records, XXIM Records, and Masterworks Broadway imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.sonymusicmasterworks.com/.