Grassi and Trio play out the year in cool style
By CHRISTIAN ARAYA
Pasadenans will well remember Red White + Bluezz. When former owner Andre Vener sold his interest in the club, the new owners thankfully saved the name and the concept of live jazz, and the new effort is proving to be quite the venue for new and established jazz artists. The restaurant’s new location at the Pasadena Playhouse is in ideal proximity to Colorado Blvd. and Old Pasadena for all your wintry-warm California promenading.
In fact, the restaurant/club features daily jazz every evening, along with a jazz brunch on Sundays. You’ll find a major–and not so minor–list of French and Californian white and red wines. Your experience is ever so augmented by the homegrown culinary masterminds of Cordon Bleu. The sophisticated, yet casual enclave will surely tantalize the senses especially with the their choice in jazz musicians.
Just recently, we saw Lorenzo Grassi and his trio as they hit all the right notes Saturday December 28th, at Red White + Bluezz.
Lorenzo Grassi at Red, White + Bluezz
Grassi, with bassist and drummer at his side, reverberated a breezy and enchanting repertoire that matched the intimate ambience set by white Christmas lights and exquisite service. You sit so close to the stage that during intermissions Grassi walks around and chats you up. Their song selections, including bebop as well as standards, was finely finished with blue notes, bass slaps, blistering chord changes, and an earful of voicings–all the essentials for a jazzy night.
The arpeggios, grooves, and damped rhythms were loud enough for you to still carry on a conversation with friends, family, or whisper sweet nothings while monochrome portraits of jazz greats lined the restaurant walls and seemed to listen in, approvingly.
Grassi’s ability to expand on standards must come from his involvement in eclectic projects which span genres such as trip hop, electro funk, and drum n’ bass. You could hear how these influences colored a lot of the bebop played that night.
Mr. Grassi is definitely one of the more promising contemporary jazz acts of 2014, and is a terrific example of the depth of artists performing at what could be your new favorite jazz hang, no matter where it’s located.
Red White + Bluezz is at 37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101. (626) 792-4441. Live music at 6:30 p.m. daily, with jazz brunch 10:30- 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. www.redwhitebluezz.com