Based out of New York, guitarist Ricardo Grilli, has been called "one of the best original talents I have come across." (Brent Black, Critical Jazz) and "Excellent... Can't stop listening."(Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times)." He continues to rise through the ranks in today's jazz scene and has performed or recorded with Chris Potter, Chris Cheek, Orlando Le Fleming, John Escreet, EJ Strickland, Aaron Parks and Joe Martin. Upcoming record will feature Aaron Parks, Joe Martin and Eric Harland.
Ricardo Grilli / Guitar
Aaron Parks / Piano
Joe Martin / Bass
Eric Harland / Drums
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Step Tempest Blog
September 11, 2016
As the CDs pile up on my desk, one keeps rising to the top. "1954" (Tone Rogue Records) is the second album for guitarist and composer Ricardo Grilli. Grilli, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil. moved to New York City to study at NYU in its Music and Performing Arts Department (after studying at the Berklee College of Music). He graduated in 2013, the same year he issued his debut album, "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler" (self-issued). He's worked with pianist Jon Cowherd, saxophonists Chris Cheek and Chris Potter, and drummer EJ Strickland. He's a melodic streak a mile wide and it's very evident on both his albums.
The new album features an impressive band including Aaron Parks (piano), Joe Martin (bass) and Eric Harland (drums). The guitarist has supplied with nine originals pieces and, while you may hear a hint of Pat Metheny and Kurt Rosenwinkel every now and then, these compositions are mature, thoughtful, and filled with wonderful melodies. Several of the cuts sound as if there should be a vocalist. Pieces such as "Rings" and the elegant samba "Breathe" are telling a story, one that the listener can get wrapped in. Gentle chords and simple yet effective hand drumming leads in "Rings" - nothing is rushed, the melodic bass lines underpinning the melody played by the leader and Parks, whose phrases rise over the guitar lines and loops. "Cosmonauts" has a classical feel with Martin's sweet solo right at the beginning as the piano plays quiet figures that lead into the melody, one that is effortless and poetic in nature. Harland helps to push the melody forward with his active work while his cymbals splash easily during the piano solo.
There are also moments when the music takes a harder turn. The opening track "Arcturus" (possibly named for the red-giant star in the Boötes constellation) has a strong 4/4 feel in Harland's drums, a pulsating drive that one might hear on a Jeff Beck track (not the guitar sound, though). "Vertigo" features a solid drum attack yet still has a well-turned melody. Harland keeps up the intensity during the piano solo but does not overpower Parks. Grilli feeds off the the drummer's energy and creates a ringing solo, filled with powerful phrases that rise and fall and rise again. There's a "prog-rock" feel to the drums on "Radiance", a tune on which the sustain of the guitar notes give the song a fuller sound. The program closes with "Pulse", a rapid-fire tune that has a hard-bop feel, flying on the scrambling drums and "running" bass lines. Parks digs into his solo, urged on the forceful rhythm section and chunky guitar chords.
Get a copy of "1954" (it's released in early October) and let the sounds and melodies wash over you. Don't look for influences, just listen and you'll hear a confident musician playing with a rhythm section that supports, pushes, and gives its all. Notice the melodies - the majority are truly intelligent, well-drawn, and not flashy guitar riffs that lead to long solos. Ricardo Grilli, remember that name. Judging by his 2 albums, he's a fine composer, a smart player, an excellent arranger, and, chances are good, he'll be making great music for a long time.
October 14, 2013
Guitarist Ricardo Grilli allows you the freedom to dream with your eyes open...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Books, film, and music are all vehicles for escape. The opportunity to take a cerebral journey through the eyes of another is the very life blood of the artist endeavor. If On A Winter's Night A Traveler is the auspicious debut from Brazilian Ricardo Grilli that takes the listener on a somewhat conceptualized journey through his experience drawn from a variety of mediums as they relate to his travel from his native Sao Paulo to New York.
Ricardo Grilli has a creative jones not shackled by the conventional form and function of improvisational music. Odd meters, unusual voicing and themes all come full circle and just part of a free association approach used in his compositions and with amazingly fresh results. The somewhat melancholy "Revolver" originates from a John Legend review concerning his Evolver record. Grilli played with the word and the free association narrative of something that returns to itself with the end result a spacious ballad of nuanced depth and character. In doing a quick inventory of the plethora of young guitarists I have reviewed this year alone, Ricardo Grilli may be one of the best original talents I have come across when considering the roughly three dozen guitarists I have reviewed this calendar year alone. Bassist Jared Henderson and drummer Lee Fish are perfect counterpoints holding down the rhythm section. Saxophonist Gustavo D' Amico and pianist Christian Li blend exquisitely well as an incredibly intimate artistic self portrait begins to take shape. "The Abstract" pulls a light ambient flair and allows saxophonist D'Amico to run as a golden thread through this most tantalizing of lyrical tapestries.
Evocative, ethereal, and eclectic finds Grilli hitting that sweet spot somewhere between post bop and the avaunt garde, the harmonic road less traveled is simple melodies with deceptively subtle execution. An incredibly impressive debut, raw yet refined has Grilli's musical stock taking a gigantic leap forward with If On A Winter's Night A Traveler.
- See more at: http://www.ricardogrilli.com.hostbaby.com/press/#sthash.9rZBMKo5.dpuf
Arnaldo DeSouteiro (Voting Member for Naras-Grammy)
The Best Jazz of 2013
2013 Electric Guitar: 1º John Scofield (“Uberjam Deux” - EmArcy); 2º John Hart (“Unity 1” w/ Mark Egan – Wavetone); 3º Larry Coryell (“The Lift” – WideHive); 4º Pat Metheny (“Tap” – Nonesuch); 5º Chuck Loeb ("Live in Tokyo" DVD w/ Fourplay - GRP Stydios). 6º Beledo (“On A Mission” w/ The Avengers” – Gudari Records); 7º Tohpati (“The 6th Story” w/ simakDialog – MoonJune); 8º John Etheridge (“Burden of Proof” w/ Soft Machine Legacy); 9º Ricardo Grilli (“If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller” – Dark House); 10º Jean Paul Bourelly (“Exploring The Vibe” w/ Reut Regev – Enja); 11º Lupa Santiago (“Paris/São Paulo” – Gemini/Tratore); 12º John Stein (“Bing Bang Boom!” – Whaling City Sound); 13º Ronny Graupe (“Spoom” – Pirouet); 14º Bill Kopper (“Chicago Red” w/ Brad Goode – Origin); 15º Dani Rabin (“Last Chapter of Dreaming” w/ Marbin – MoonJune)
2013 Composer: 1º Steve Lindeman (“The Day After Yesterday” – Jazz Hang Records); 2º Geof Bradfield (“Melba!” – Origin); 3º Anthony Branker (“Uppity” – Origin); 4º Chick Corea (“The Vigil” – Stretch); 5º Wlodek Pawlik ("Randy Brecker Plays Wlodek Pawlik's Night In Calisia" - ); 6º Asuka Kakitani (“Bloom” – Nineteen Eight); 7º Ben Van Gelder (“Reprise” – Pirouet); 8º Riza Arshad (“The 6th Story” w/ simakDialog – MoonJune); 9º Imer Santiago (“Hidden Journey” – Jazz Music City); 10º Ricardo Grilli (“If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller” – Dark House)
Guitarist Ricardo Grilli fronts a team of Gustavo D’Amico/sax, Christian Li/p, Jared Henderson/b and Lee Fish/dr on some well thought originals. His tensile guitar mixes well with Li on the graceful title tract, while some fragrant chords combine with D’Amico’s tenor on “The Abstract.” A web of strings seems to be conjured with bassist Fish on the intruiging “Riga” and the undercurrent of the rhythm section draws you into the dancing of “The Great Escape.” Very thoughtful but visceral music.
RICARDO GRILLI/If On a Winter's Night a Traveler: The nu generation continue to make it's mark. Coming to America from Brazil seven years ago to study at Berklee, this smart, young guitarist started writing out of artistic self defense. Letting his debut show him as a neo master of sitting down jazz, it's presently mindful without being pedantically overstated. Quite a smashing debut, Grilli freely colors outside the lines and perks your ears up to sounds straight jacketed commercial concerns would frown upon but are actually quite tasty and engaging. This is a dandy debut you can count on for late evening listening when you want some music that feels like an old friend who makes things feel right that you don't have to impress. Well done.