Reviews that mention Lou Grassi

August 17, 2020

Marilyn Lerner/Ken Filiano/Lou Grassi

Intention
NotTwo MW 995-2

See Through 4

False Ghosts, Minor Fears

All Set! Editions AS 0012

Well along in her career, Toronto-based pianist Marilyn Lerner is not only accepted for her mature creativity on the Canadian scene, but is radiating her skills in international situations with partners including Ig Henneman. These two ingenious sessions feature the pianist in alternate settings. Intention is a live concert where she and her American cohorts, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Lou Grassi roll out six extended improvisations. In contrast False Ghosts, Minor Fears is an all-Canadian effort with Lerner as part of a quartet playing seven tunes composed by bassist Pete Johnston. Karen Ng who plays in bands with Rob Clutton is the alto saxophonist and Nick Fraser who has recorded with Tony Malaby and plays in a trio with Lerner is the drummer. MORE

October 26, 2016

Lerner/Filiano/Grassi

Live at Edgefest
NoBusiness NBLP 90

By Ken Waxman

Although a tale of two cities – three if you count the Ann Arbor, Mich. recording location – this CD confirms that Toronto pianist Marilyn Lerner has cemented a mutually beneficial musical relationship with New Yorkers, bassist Ken Filiano and percussionist Lou Grassi. Like a contemporary auto that doesn’t stint on speed and comfort just because it’s equipped with up-to-date safety features, on this its third disc, the LFG trio expands the effortless, extrasensory perception of the classic piano trio with atonal musings and reflective extended techniques. MORE

April 8, 2014

Marilyn Lerner-Ken Filiano-Lou Grassi

Live in Madrid
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1247

By Ken Waxman

One of the most successful Canadian-American partnerships since the St. Lawrence Seaway, Toronto pianist Marilyn Lerner continues her musical relationship with New Yorkers bassist Ken Filiano and percussionist Lou Grassi. The trio’s second outing after 2008’s Arms Spread Wide, Live in Madrid charts the band’s maturation process, with three long improvisations where every piece locks into place. Equally proficient in Klezmer and austere free music, Lerner positions herself here firmly within the core of jazz. Her kinetic dynamism on the keyboard and inside the piano extends from the advances of Cecil Taylor, while her structural sophistication and thematic implementation can be related to fellow Canadian Paul Bley’s work. MORE

February 12, 2011

Lou Grassi Po Band

Live at the Knitting Factory Vol. 1 (with Marshall Allen)
Porter Records PRCD 4051

Nu Band

Live in Paris

NoBusiness Records NBCD 16

By Ken Waxman

Recorded almost exactly seven years apart, these high-class discs illuminate drummer Lou Grassi’s hard-hitting yet rhythmically sophisticated style in two advanced group contexts. At home with styles ranging from ragtime to free form, Grassi advances any project in tandem with other players, never drawing undue attention to himself.

A welcome document involving the drummer’s long-constituted – since 1995 – Po Band, Live at the Knitting Factory features flutist/saxophonist Marshall Allen, linchpin of the Sun Ra Arkestra, guesting with the 2000 version of the group. Besides Grassi, trumpeter Paul Smoker, trombonist Steve Swell and clarinettist Perry Robinson are featured along with the late bassist Wilber Morris. That same year, Grassi hooked up with three other mature players to form the Nu Band. Live in Paris, recorded in 2007, demonstrates the close cooperation which has allowed it to flourish. Although each Nu Band member is a leader in his own right – as are Po Band’s participants – the CD’s extended tracks demonstrate the group’s collegial if not musical harmony. Mercurial reedist Mark Whitecage and fiery brass man Roy Campbell have an ideal setting for their contrapuntal connections, while the drummer and solid bassist Joe Fonda – who plays in as many bands as Grassi – not only keep the music on an even keel, but solos impressively. MORE

February 12, 2011

Nu Band

Live in Paris
NoBusiness Records NBCD 16

Lou Grassi Po Band

Live at the Knitting Factory Vol. 1 (with Marshall Allen)

Porter Records PRCD 4051

By Ken Waxman

Recorded almost exactly seven years apart, these high-class discs illuminate drummer Lou Grassi’s hard-hitting yet rhythmically sophisticated style in two advanced group contexts. At home with styles ranging from ragtime to free form, Grassi advances any project in tandem with other players, never drawing undue attention to himself.

A welcome document involving the drummer’s long-constituted – since 1995 – Po Band, Live at the Knitting Factory features flutist/saxophonist Marshall Allen, linchpin of the Sun Ra Arkestra, guesting with the 2000 version of the group. Besides Grassi, trumpeter Paul Smoker, trombonist Steve Swell and clarinettist Perry Robinson are featured along with the late bassist Wilber Morris. That same year, Grassi hooked up with three other mature players to form the Nu Band. Live in Paris, recorded in 2007, demonstrates the close cooperation which has allowed it to flourish. Although each Nu Band member is a leader in his own right – as are Po Band’s participants – the CD’s extended tracks demonstrate the group’s collegial if not musical harmony. Mercurial reedist Mark Whitecage and fiery brass man Roy Campbell have an ideal setting for their contrapuntal connections, while the drummer and solid bassist Joe Fonda – who plays in as many bands as Grassi – not only keep the music on an even keel, but solos impressively. MORE

December 7, 2009

Eric St-Laurent

Dimensions d'Istanbul
Katzemusik KM-01

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky/Andrey Kondakov/Vlaminir Volkov

Christmas Concert

Leo Records CD LR 520

Marilyn Lerner/Ken Filiano/Lou Grassi

Arms Spread Wide

No Business Records NBCD 5

Ganesh Anandan, Hans Reichel

Self Made

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 192

Extended Play: Musical Dialogues Reflect the Real Holiday Spirit

By Ken Waxman

Holiday-themed CDs usually have as much to do with the sentiments of good will and earthly peace underlying the season as do greeting cards. Yet without – except in one case – mentioning the season, the following improvised music sessions demonstrate the intuitive harmony which the season should reflect. MORE

December 7, 2009

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky/Andrey Kondakov/Vlaminir Volkov

Christmas Concert
Leo Records CD LR 520

Marilyn Lerner/Ken Filiano/Lou Grassi

Arms Spread Wide

No Business Records NBCD 5

Eric St-Laurent

Dimensions d'Istanbul

Katzemusik KM-01

Ganesh Anandan, Hans Reichel

Self Made

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 192

Extended Play: Musical Dialogues Reflect the Real Holiday Spirit

By Ken Waxman

Holiday-themed CDs usually have as much to do with the sentiments of good will and earthly peace underlying the season as do greeting cards. Yet without – except in one case – mentioning the season, the following improvised music sessions demonstrate the intuitive harmony which the season should reflect. MORE

December 7, 2009

Marilyn Lerner/Ken Filiano/Lou Grassi

Arms Spread Wide
No Business Records NBCD 5

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky/Andrey Kondakov/Vlaminir Volkov

Christmas Concert

Leo Records CD LR 520

Eric St-Laurent

Dimensions d'Istanbul

Katzemusik KM-01

Ganesh Anandan, Hans Reichel

Self Made

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 192

Extended Play: Musical Dialogues Reflect the Real Holiday Spirit

By Ken Waxman

Holiday-themed CDs usually have as much to do with the sentiments of good will and earthly peace underlying the season as do greeting cards. Yet without – except in one case – mentioning the season, the following improvised music sessions demonstrate the intuitive harmony which the season should reflect. MORE

December 7, 2009

Ganesh Anandan, Hans Reichel

Self Made
Ambiances Magnétiques AM 192

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky/Andrey Kondakov/Vlaminir Volkov

Christmas Concert

Leo Records CD LR 520

Marilyn Lerner/Ken Filiano/Lou Grassi

Arms Spread Wide

No Business Records NBCD 5

Eric St-Laurent

Dimensions d'Istanbul

Katzemusik KM-01

Extended Play: Musical Dialogues Reflect the Real Holiday Spirit

By Ken Waxman

Holiday-themed CDs usually have as much to do with the sentiments of good will and earthly peace underlying the season as do greeting cards. Yet without – except in one case – mentioning the season, the following improvised music sessions demonstrate the intuitive harmony which the season should reflect. MORE

December 5, 2005

JOHN LINDBERG

Winter Birds
Between the Lines BTLCHR 71203

NU BAND
Live
Konnex KCD 5141

Variations on a quartet theme, the different strategies working bands put across depending on whether they’re involved in a live or a studio situation are illustrated by these CDs.

Recorded on gigs in Rochester, N.Y., Amherst, Mass. and Chicago, LIVE showcases extended five performances from the all-star Nu Band quartet that allow its veteran members extensive space in which to let loose. On the other hand, WINTER BIRDS captures the quartet of bassist John Lindberg, with as stellar a line-up, working in a studio date that followed 13 European concerts in 15 days. Playing nine of the bassist’s tunes and one written by flautist Steve Gorn, the CD recreates in a studio the tightness of the touring quartet MORE

June 7, 2002

THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS

Vision
Jump Arts JA001

THE IMPLICATE ORDER
At Seixal
Clean Feed CF 001 CD

With little fanfare -- which probably reflects his playing style -- New York-based Steve Swell has become one of the most accomplished improvising trombonist. Someone whose experience encompasses stints in aggregations as varied as vibist Lionel Hampton’s swing band and drummer Joey Baron’s hard-hitting Barrondown, Swell has achieved what he has through hard work, not some major label publicity machine. MORE

April 12, 2002

THE NU BAND

Live at The Bop Shop/Rochester, NY
Clean Feed CF 002CD

Definite truth in packaging if not in spelling, the cooperative Nu Band is new enough to have produced this memorable CD on its third ever gig.

Existing in an economic atmosphere where every improvising musician must have several irons in the fire and operate as a member of several groups simultaneously, this awkwardly named combo is made up of four veteran players who have been concerned with making it new since the mid-1970s.

Trumpeter Roy Campbell may have the highest profile, as one of his other gigs is with Other Dimensions in Music, the co-op quartet that also features bassist William Parker and multi-reedist Daniel Carter. But the brassman has also played and recorded with the likes of pianists Mathew Shipp and violinist Billy Bang plus leading his own aggregations. Bassist Joe Fonda has often worked with composer/performers such as Anthony Braxton and Wadada Leo Smith in the past, and is now involved in a variety of projects, most notably his well-received quartet with pianist Michael Jefrey Stevens. Drummer Lou Grassi has accompanied folks as different as ragtime piano specialist Max Morath and Arkestra mainman alto saxophonist Marshall Allen as well as leading his own PO band. Undeservedly the least known element, alto saxophonist Mark Whitecage spent years as featured sideman in German vibist Gunter Hampel’s Galaxie Dream Band, but lately has been working to raise his own profile. MORE

March 15, 2002

URSEL SCHLICHT’S IMPLICATE ORDER

Sound Quest
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1140

Well-traveled German pianist/composer Ursel Schlicht has staked out a territory midway between the fustian assault practiced by the generation of Teutonic improvisers headed by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and the near inaudible techniques of emerging tone stylists like bassist Werner Dafeldecker.

However, as this fine live CD demonstrates, she’s a bit closer to the earlier players for a couple of reasons. For a start you can actually hear all of the nuances emanating from each instrumentalist on this disc, recorded in her hometown of Kassel. Second, like Brötzmann and others, Schlicht, who lives part of the time in Manhattan, and has played elsewhere in Europe and Mexico, has forged strong bonds with American jazzers. As a mater of fact the other member of her regular working quartet here are all Yanks. MORE

January 15, 2002

GÜNTER HEINZ/LOU GRASSI

Live in Wuppertal
Alea 2001-01

Forget Esperanto, its improvisation that has now become the world language -- at least as far as musicians are concerned. What’s more, as players in other countries become as fluent in improv as their native (musical) tongue, the neo-colonial idea of Americans going to foreign location to only use the locals as sidemen has become as passé as the sun never setting on the British Empire.

Instead non-American and Americans now form cooperative groups, with each performer on equal footing. Case in point is this duo featuring New Jersey-based percussionist Lou Grassi and German trombonist Günter Heinz, recorded late in 2000 in a gallery in Wuppertal, which also happens to be the home town of bassist Peter Kowald and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. MORE