Praise for "1954" (2016)

The New York Times
October 7, 2016

Nate Chinen

Ricardo Grilli is a postbop guitarist with a sideline interest in the cosmos. He crowded his new album, “1954,” with tracks bearing titles like “Cosmonauts” and “Radiance.” Rather than a gimmick, the concept feels like a natural fit for Mr. Grilli, who was born in São Paulo but now lives in Brooklyn, and has a taste for the ultramodern. There’s an attractively questing quality in the album’s opener, “Arcturus,” named after the brightest star in the Northern sky. Featuring an A-list rhythm team — the pianist Aaron Parks, the bassist Joe Martin, the drummer Eric Harland — it has a driving rock groove over which Mr. Grilli unfurls a coolly billowing solo.


March, 2017

Bill Milkowski

On his sophomore outing, Sao Paulo-born, New York-based guitarist Ricardo Grilli is joined by pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Eric Harland on a program that ranges from the Latin-tinged “Breathe” to the distortion-laced opener “Arcturus” to the post-bop swinger “Pulse.”

Grilli’s considerable chops are in full effect in each setting. The guitarist also crafts appealing musical portraits on the soothing “Pogo56,” which glides along on Harland’s “Poinciana” beat, and on the Brazilian-flavored “Far Away Shores,” which has Harland playing the kit with his hands on the first half before resorting to sticks and underscoring the proceedings with a percolating, interactive groove.

The rock-tinged “Radiance” suggests the influence of Radiohead and Kurt Rosenwinkel, while the lovely and atmospheric “Rings” is a ballad for the celestial rings around the planet Saturn.

The quartet takes things up a notch on the dynamic “Vertigo,” which has Grilli wailing with aggressive abandon against Harland’s whirling activity and Parks’ dramatic comping. This is an admirable outing by a new face on the scene.

Step Tempest Blog
September 11, 2016

Richard Kamins

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.  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. 

Jazz Trail
September 28, 2016

“1954” is the title of the sophomore album of originals from the Brazilian-born New York-based guitarist Ricardo Grilli, who was joined here by a tremendous team of musicians: Aaron Parks on piano, Joe Martin on bass, and Eric Harland on drums.
Following the recent trends of jazz and influenced by his own past and the Space Age, Grilli packs up nine tunes that disclose influences from diverse styles.
On the first track, “Arcturus”, his sustained guitar strumming lays anchor in rock, fantastically honed in by Harland. The guitarist uses most of the guitar arm for a brisk improvisation that encompasses several octaves, showcasing his abilities as a soloist. 
The repose of “Breathe”, a modern cha cha cha with soft harmonic textures and no improvisations, is repeated in “Rings”, a soaring ballad that finds support in the beauty of its relentless chord progression.
The galloping “Radiance”, inhabiting in a fusion universe of jazz, rock, and pop, is arranged with intrepid guitar riffs, implacable rhythms, and culminates with warmly expressive solos by Parks and the bandleader.
Cosmonauts” hits a darker side, suggesting mystery and uncertainty. Our apprehension turns into amazement when we listen to Parks’ motivating solo. One can find a certain Brazilian lyricism in the tune’s melody and glimpses of Radiohead in Grilli’s fingerpicking.
The last tune, “Pulse”, leaves behind any connotation with the pop/rock universe and swings along in a hasty pace, resorting to well-known bebop dialects. Besides the fluidity of the guitarist and composer, we have estimable improvisations by Martin and Parks.
Ricardo Grilli sharpens his voice, liberates his creativity, and delivers a consistent new album.

Praise for "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler" (2013)

Critical Jazz

October 14, 2013

Brent Black

Guitarist Ricardo Grilli allows you the freedom to dream with your eyes open...

Brent Black /

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:

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)

Jazz Weekly

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.

Midwest Record

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.