PJ Rasmussen's Big Band Brunch - 2/21
at City Winery New York City
- 10:30 AM
- 11:00 AM
- 2:00 PM
PJ Rasmussen quickly came to international attention with the release of his debut album, Adventures in Flight in June of 2013. Critics hailed Rasmussen as an extension of the classic Blue Note period updated for a modern audience, praising his playing, leadership and compositional skills. Rasmussen’s follow up album “Another Adventure” pairs veteran greats Steve Davis, Jim Ridl, Scott Robinson, and Lauren Sevian alongside a youthful cast dedicated to continuing a simple mission: jazz is music that should make the heart race, the blood pump, and the feet move.
Born in 1990, Rasmussen entered a world where jazz seemed reserved more for intellectuals than real people. Picking up the guitar at age 10, he spent more time learning Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton than working his way through the Real Book. While his passion for rock and blues never waned, his eclectic taste and exploratory spirit never stopped looking for new music to learn; soon enough he was practicing Joe Pass and Yardbird alongside Slowhand, under the watchful eye of Andrew Light. A great guitarist in his own right, Andrew introduced PJ to the wide world of jazz. He has never looked back, studying Jazz Performance at William Patterson University as well as with performers like Bucky Pizzarelli, Paul Meyers, and Gene Bertoncini.
PJ is also a busy composer, and he brings together his diverse musical background in surprising ways. He has written for many different settings, including recent commissions for the NY theater. In “The Gambler,” based on the gripping novel by Dostoyevsky, Rasmussen was asked to bring together styles as diverse as classical string quartet, tango, 1960’s post bop and funk. In “L’illusion Comique,” he was commissioned for charts that included classic ragtime and orchestral scores that demonstrated “Tim Burton’s version of 1916 New Orleans.” The show visit New Orleans itself as part of it’s annual “Fringe Festival” in November of 2012.
A generation ago, the United States Congress declared that jazz was “a rare and valuable national treasure.” Unfortunately, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, that national treasure has struggled to find an audience today. The “average American now sees jazz as a form of high art” that is “off-putting to pop-loving listeners. The Journal concluded that “jazz musicians who want to keep their own equally beautiful music alive and well have got to start thinking hard about how to pitch it to young listeners—not next month, not next week, but right now.”
That’s a challenge PJ Rasmussen has been eager to accept. Fortunately, he is uniquely qualified for the task. While jazz is his passion, PJ grew up on blues and rock music and has never lost the love for connecting with an audience. He says “When people love the music, it fuels the band and takes us all to another level.” That’s why he’s designed the Boardwalk Jazz series as a pitch to start building a new generation of jazz fans. After building a strong following on the legendary Asbury Park Boardwalk, PJ is bringing the same excitement to NYC-- the greatest jazz city in the world.
Band leader, composer, arranger, and guitarist PJ Rasmussen is bringing an incredible mix of jazz musicians to City Winery on the second Sunday of July, August and September. The music will have you tapping your feet and humming along. PJ’s love of music is contagious and he is committed to sharing that passion with others. He is happy to jam with the band at any time, but feels the music come alive when an audience sees that jazz is music to make the heart race, the blood pump, and the feet move.
Sponsored by the law firm of Kranjac and Tripodi