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Lou Grassi

Unlike many others of his pairs, Lou Grassi is a free jazz drummer who knows his chops in the other styles of the jazz tradition, namely dixieland and swing. And he thinks there’s a connection: “The earliest jazz – before Louis Armstrong changed things – was collective improvisation, there was no featured soloist, somebody would get a four bar break, but nobody would get a chorus.” And he didn’t start with dixie rhythms before joining the avant garde, it was the other way round what happened. Free playing inspired him to experience what was before in jazz history. Grassi is one of those examples of musicians that were formed during military service – he remembers that the person who auditioned him before entering the army band he played in during the Vietnam years was Billy Cobham. The head of groups like Avanti Galopi and Po Band likes to play loud and fast, but without following virtuoso logics. He functions like a motor, keeping things glued and moving forward as the basis of the energy transpired by the music. That’s true even in his own bands, in which he tries always to be what he calls “a low-impact leader”. Listening, for him, is the key behavior for any improvising colective, and he criticises all those improvisers that don’t have the hability to hear his partners. That’s the reason why Gunter Hampel and Perry Robinson, two big figures of free music, chose his company for a touring trio. And that’s why Marshall Allen, Joseph Jarman and John Tchicai wanted to play with him.

Lou Grassi's records on clean feed
The Implicate Order at Seixal
Implicate Order
Live at the Bop Shop OUT OF STOCK
Nu Band
Shapes and Shadows
Martin Speicher/Georg Wolf/Lou Grassi
Drunk Butterfly
Adam Lane / Lou Grassi / Mark Whitecage
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