Lou Grassi

Born: January 21, 1947    Primary Instrument: Drums

Lou Grassi

Since the release of his CD PoGressions in 1996 Lou's star has been on the rise. He has subsequently appeared on more than 60 new recordings. His nine CDs as a leader, including six by the PoBand, have established him as one of the most versatile, original, and creative drummers working in this idiom.

Lou Grassi has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of outstanding artists, including Marshall Allen, Billy Bang, Borah Bergman, Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, The Copascetics, Jimmy Garrison, Charles Gayle, Burton Greene, Urbie Green, Gunter Hampel, Johnny Hartman, Guenter Heinz, Fred van Hove, Joseph Jarman, Karl Berger, Sheila Jordan, William Parker, Perry Robinson, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai and Kenny Wessel among others....
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Lou Grassi

Press Quotes

“Grassi, always skilled at incorporating the nuances of his entire kit, turns the fire up and down as needed.” Mike Shanley Jazz Times

“Grassi really demonstrates the breadth of his timbral and rhythmic language. Expanding on the innovations of Sunny Murray and Rashied Ali.” Marc Medwin All About Jazz New York

“Drummer Lou Grassi's work on the CIMP and Cadence labels has proven to be consistently intriguing - he shows a penchant for setting up collective situations with non-traditional instrumentation that effortlessly ignore boundaries between freedom, composition, and spontaneous collective arrangements. Grassi is careful not to overwhelm the others. His loose drumming delivers a potent, simmering flow that constantly shapes the momentum of the improvisations .” Michael Rosenstein Cadence

“And drummers, do check out Lou Grassi, because he is a gem for sure.” Dennis Hollingsworth JazzImprov

“Grassi leads the group through a cornucopia of textures and moods... and Grassi's multihanded, Elvin Jones-style drumming makes for a wild ride. The muscularity and melodicism of his drumming come through loud and clear. Once again Grassi, in the best spirit of Duke, Mingus, and Miles, calls forth the best from his mates , and eggs them on, in his percussion as well as in his organizational skill, to unexpected heights. Grassi is, once again, amazingly sensitive and right about what he chooses in the moment. A great drummer .” Robert Spencer All About Jazz

“As always, Grassi, an incredibly dynamic presence, coaxes and fuels the proceedings . . . “

Jay Collins One Final Note

”Grassi is the consummate small group drummer, on top of every nuance, non-intrusive yet immeasurably important to the success of the recording.”

Steven Loewy Cadence Magazine

“Grassi is a one man percussive powerhouse able to pound out elemental cadences or just as agilely sculpt complex polyrhythms for his partners to play atop.” Derek Taylor All About Jazz

“Grassi is a very talented drummer - he is capable of lifting a tune to a high level of excellence .” Walter Horn Signal To Noise

“Grassi's discography has largely been limited to other CIMP dates, but his ingenuity on the drums screams for other opportunities to record .” Derek Taylor All About Jazz

“Grassi's star is on the rise . . . a mature musician whose only limits on his music are the number of hours in the day that he can devote to his craft.” Derek Taylor All About Jazz

“Lou Grassi is one of those few jazz players who is as comfortable with straight ahead bop as he is with ventures into the realm of the totally free . . . Grassi powers the group and the creativity and energy are boundless .” Steven A. Loewy

“Grassi continues to impress , with his unique emphasis on the lower tones, and an unusual ability to sustain solo after solo with finely tuned shades of emotion. Filled with controlled energy, a fluid and sophisticated style, and an uncanny capacity to follow the leader, Grassi is one of the leading exponents of his mode of expression.” Steven A. Loewy Cadence

“If the first quality of a leader is to know how to unite the individualities which come together to produce an entity which is greater than the sum of its parts, one could say that in creating the Po Band Lou Grassi has shown that he is one of the first order, and at the same time he is an impeccable percussionist.” Marc Chaloin Improjazz (France)

“The ensembles were given drive and body... by the rhythmic steadiness of Lou Grassi on drums”. John Wilson The New York Times

“Grassi rolls and undulates like the spiked glossallalia of Milford Graves and the smooth patter of Andrew Cyrille and Sunny Murray . He can work his assorted tom-toms into staggered rolls that go so quickly up and down that which way things are headed is sometimes happily unclear... tireless force and intellect”. Andrew Bartlett Cadence

“Ferocious. Hard-hitting. Grassi acts like a circus ringleader presiding over often turbulent group improvisations within structure”. Jon Andrews****Downbeat Magazine

“Grassi supplies a very distinct drum style that often resembles the support beneath Ellington's jungle music”. Dave McElfresh Jazz Now

“Grassi has an incredible talent for setting up a percussive environment that things can grow in . Like some jazz farmer he piles on a rich texture of fertiliser, creating a mulch for this bumper crop of colour, humour and variety . . . Grassi is as much polyatmosperic as he is polyrhythmic “. Nathan Thompson Opprobrium (New Zealand)

“Grassi provides consistently firm support , and regales both as vivifying drummer and creative soloist”. Steven A.Loewy Cadence

“Grassi's propelling, sometimes primitive drumbeats - like heartbeats - collectively and individually enliven”. Nancy Ann Lee Jazz Times

“Lou Grassi seems to be able to maintain several unrelated rhythmic streams at once”. Bill Bennett Jazz Times

“Lou Grassi's dynamic use of the entire drumkit is perfect...” Larry Nai Jazziz

“Grassi is a perfect leader ... the accomplished percussionist has Vision. Grassi is always there, often as instigator and colorist, but rarely grabbing the limelight”. Steven A. Loewy Cadence

“Grassi, a fine drummer with sufficient force to drive a big band, keeps generating polyrhythms that feed the fire”. Stuart Broomer Cadence

“(There was a) virtuoso solo by percussionist Lou Grassi, who all but launched his cymbals into orbit”. The El Paso Times

“Smoothly flowing free percussion”. Milo Fine Cadence

“Lou Grassi's expressiveness transformed the drums from a rhythm instrument to a melody instrument. This was only possible because he brought with him a technique which seemed to know no bounds. Almost unbelievable “. WolfenbuttelZeitung (Germany)

“Grassi is a highly melodic drummer “. Scot Hacker Cadence

“Grassi was consistently excellent “. Chris Kelsey Jazz Now

“Grassi is a strong drummer who takes no prisoners and shows no weakness in any style he chooses to play”. R.Romus Jazz Now

As a Leader Live At The Knitting Factory Volume 1 Lou Grassi PoBand with Marshall Allen Porter PRCD 4051 Infinite POtential Lou Grassi PoBand, CIMP 344 Avanti Galoppi Lou Grassi Quartet, CIMP 313 comPOsed Lou Grassi PoBand and John Tchicai, CIMP 262 Joy of Being Lou Grassi PoBand and Joseph Jarman, CIMP 227 PoZest Lou Grassi PoBand w/Marshall Allen, CIMP 207 Neo Neo Lou Grassi Neo Neo, CIMP 201 Mo'Po Lou Grassi PoBand, CIMP 156 Quick Wits Lou Grassi Saxtet, CIMP 123 PoGressions Lou Grassi, Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1062 Hot and Sweet Dixie Peppers, Elgee 1001 (cassette) As a Co-Leader Relentlessness The Nu Band Live at The Sunset Marge 49 Live In Paris The Nu Band (No Business NBCD 16) Mr. Fubar, I Presume - The ESAT Trio Bill Gagliardi, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi (CIMP 376) Arms Spread Wide Marilyn Lerner, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi (No Business NBCD 5) Lower East Side Blues The Nu Band Roy Campbell, Mark Whitecage, Joe Fonda, Lou Grassi (Porter 4025) Drunk Butterfly Adam Lane, Lou Grassi, Mark Whitecage (Clean Feed 116) kenbillou - The ESAT Trio Bill Gagliardi, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi (CIMP 370) Live At The Guelph Festival - Marshall Allen & Lou Grassi (CJR 1192) The Dope and The Ghost - The Nu Band Live in Vienna (Not Two MW788-2) Shapes and Shadows Martin Speicher, Georg Wolf, Lou Grassi (Clean Feed 084) Jawboning Kenny Wessel, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi (CIMP 318) The Nu Band Live (Konnex KCD 5141) The Nu Band Live at the Bop Shop (Clean Feed CF 002CD) Live in Wuppertal Günter Heinz and Lou Grassi (Alea 2001-01) The Implicate Order/At Seixal Steve Swell, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi (Clean Feed 001CD) Large Music 2 , Paul Smoker, Bob Magnuson, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi, (CIMP 226) Large Music 1 Paul Smoker, Bob Magnuson, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi, (CIMP 219) Scratching The Surface, Rob Brown/Lou Grassi Quartet, (CIMP 161) Noises From an Open Window Lou Grassi and Andreas Böttcher (Meine-Stars 88 00 03) Free Improvisation Lou Grassi and Andreas Böttcher, Bridge 1001 (cassette) As a Sideman CIMPFest: Live in Villach 2009 (CIMPoL 5020-5024) This is a 5 cd box set with Grassi featured on three of the 5 discs A Flame in the Dark Thiago de Mello (GAU 2103) Absolutely, Absolutely Stephen Gauci Quartet CIMP 361 Word Jessica Jones Quartet (NA 1045) Trace In Mirror Moo Lohkenn Source of Sound (Konnex KCD 5188) Wisps of an Unknown Face Stephen Gauci Quartet (CIMP 351) Younger Dryas William Gagliardi Quintet (CIMP 342) Memories of Tomorrow William Gagliardi Quintet (CIMP 332) Zeitgeist Gunter Hampel New York Quartet (Birth 050504) Isms Out Burton Greene/Roy Campbell Quartet (CIMP 316) Hear and Now William Gagliardi Quintet (CIMP 297) Nhlahla William Gagliardi Quintet (CIMP 291) Hope is Bright Green up North John Tchicai (CIMP 278) Handling the Moment Matt Lavelle (CIMP 266) Conversations With the Jokers Katie Bull (Corn Hill Indie) Challenge of The Now Gunter Hampel (Birth 066) Sound Quest Ursel Schlicht / Implicate Order (CJR 1140) Music is the Meditation William Gagliardi (CIMP 242) Broad Strokes Roswell Rudd, Knitting Factory Works KFW 276 Visage The Rob Brown Trio, MARGE 24 Atmospheels The Steve Swell Trio, CIMP 184 Throptics The Burton Greene Trio, CIMP 182 Creative Catalysts Bob Magnuson, CIMP 169 King and the Duke : American Praise Alice Parker, Ethereal 111 Nine Wings Bruce Eisenbeil, CIMP 144 Out and About Steve Swell, CIMP 116 We'um Amy Sheffer, I Am Shee Records Where's Your Home? Amy Sheffer, I Am Shee Records AS 0084 Lennie Tristano Memorial Concert Sheila Jordan, Jazz Records JR3 Take One Music Minus One, MMO 2010-2018 Numatic Swing Band Roswell Rudd, The Jazz Composer Orchestra JCOA 1007

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New York, NY

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Apr25 The Firehouse Space
Brooklyn, NY

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Featured recording “Live At The Knitting Factory...”

Live At The Knitting Factory...
Porter Records (2011)

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