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Chops: Streaming Jazz on the Installment Plan

A new online strategy—releasing music piecemeal—is taking hold in the jazz world

Pasquale Grasso
Pasquale Grasso (photo: Deneka Peniston)

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.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.