Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble


The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble presents a concert of Jazz Latin, Fusion, and original music in the Latin and Jazz style, including music from their soon to be released CD Jagged Spaces. The group is based in the Mid-Atlantic area and works regionally. Members include:

Benny Russell - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Skip Grasso - guitar
Greg Small - piano
Nuc Vega - drums
Phil Ravita - acoustic bass and electric 6 - string bass

Who says all the best, boldest and most badass new jazz groups come from NYC? Just when our tired spirits and hopeful ears are in critical need, the most alternately incendiary/explosive, playfully swinging and lyrical/soulful trad jazz (with a little Latin twist) debut of early 2021 goes to The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble, a brilliant, rhythmically eclectic newly formed group down the road a few hours (Baltimore/DC area).

The spark that launched Jagged Spaces, a delightfully spent hour of the funkiest, wildest yet cool, intimate and caressing jazz you’ve heard in ages, was a single gig in March 2018, when two veteran sidemen - guitarist Skip Grasso and bassist Phil Ravita - first discussed their profound desire to do a project of original music. Acting on this intuitive moment, Ravita reached out and gathered a stellar group of like-minded composers and musicians, including saxophonist Benny Russell, pianist Greg Small (also a trumpeter on other gigs) and drummer Nuc Vega.

It was chemistry at first chord, melody, groove and listen. No telling if these nine freewheeling tracks – which roll amiably from the booming, hard-swinging, feisty solo-filled title track through the sultry, easy swaying “Chasing Shadows” – were recorded live in the studio or digitally during the pandemic, but it’s easy to visualize these guys giving each other gleeful knowing smiles every second, whether they’re romping and rolling through the speedy, buoyant grooves of “Songhai,” the snazzy, smoky blues jam “Blue Sunshine.” dancing politely and elegantly through the waltz “Her Life Incomplete” or dipping into the romantic exotic lighthearted sizzle of “Latin for Leandro.”

Streaming cost is $7
Donations are welcomed.

"A delightfully spent hour of the funkiest, wildest yet cool, intimate and caressing jazz you’ve heard in ages... It was chemistry at first chord, melody, groove and listen."  Jonathan Wdran

“GRASSO RAVITA JAZZ ENSEMBLE/Jagged Spaces delivers a modern sound that has roots in fusion--but the roots go deep. With a sound that sounds like it was burnished on the road and in the clubs, this is a smoking crew that knows how to pack them in. Add a bunch of cigarette smoke and some waitresses dressed in black and you have the whole package. Smart stuff.”- Chris Spector, Midwest Record

Bassist Phil Ravita, co-leads a quintet with guitarist Skip Grasso along with Greg Small/p, Nuc Vega/dr and Benny Russell/ts-ss on a collection of originals. The team is intuitive and telepathic, and the writing mixing up the delivery like a 9th inning closer. Impressive sounds. - by George W. Harris • February 25, 2021

“Jagged Spaces” is a well-played, first-rate recording in this excellent debut. - Ron Weinstock, Jan/Feb 2021 Jazz & Blues Report

An die Musik Live!

409 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201

  • 410-385-2638