Pasquale Grasso has a reputation among New York guitarists and guitar geeks for his technical fluidity and incorporation of classical techniques. (He’s a particular favorite of Pat Metheny’s, performing for him at the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters concert.) The 30-year-old, Italian-born bebop specialist often performs unaccompanied. “It’s one of my favorite things, to play solo,” he says.
That specialty makes Grasso unusual. But it’s the bare fact of his being a jazz musician that made his January 2018 signing by Sony Music an unlikely proposition. For there’s one skill that even the most virtuosic jazz musicians struggle with mightily: how to sell records.