Album Review of
Jagged Spaces

Written by Joe Ross
January 15, 2021 - 8:21pm EST
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After many years of playing standards, guitarist Skip Grasso and bassist Phil Ravita decided to venture out with a project of all original music. They found like-minded musicians and brought them into a collective emphasizing growth and teamwork. Based in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, Grasso and Ravita enlisted Benny Russell (tenor and soprano saxophones), Greg Small (piano), and Nuc Vega (drums). They’re an impressive cast of accomplished musicians with years of experience. The hour-long set features an eclectic variety of nine compositions such as Grasso’s up-tempo opening title cut, Ravita’s breezy “Blue Sunshine,” Russell’s soothing “All About Cynthia,” and Small’s ethereal “Circles.” The ensemble takes numbers like Grasso’s “Latin for Leandro” or Ravita’s “Chasing Shadows” and delivers them with impressive virtuosity, heart and soul. “Her Life Incomplete” starts gently, and the song’s genesis delicately evolves with opportunities for each soloist. It’s intriguing how these players have built a stellar group to satisfy both individual and mutual needs for creativity.  Their chemistry is quite apparent. After establishing a tune’s melody, the musicians improvise in evocative settings to explore the music and attach themselves to a shared groove. The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble clearly had fun bringing their originals to life on Jagged Spaces. However, the real strength of the collaborative effort is the genuine warmth and musical eloquence conveyed as each artist contributes to the overall organic mix.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)