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Milwaukee's Best Jazz Artist

Jack Grassel

Nov. 16, 2009
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The prodigiously talented instrumentalist “plays the whole guitar,” he explained in a recent interview, “with bass and chords at the same time. This means we can play jazz without a bassist or drummer.” The “we” is often his wife, vocalist Jill Jensen, with whom he performs weekly at the Carleton Grange Pub’s Sunday brunch. A prolific recording artist, Grassel released a CD earlier this year with Mexican guitarist Guillermo Espinasse, and reissued one of his finest LPs from the ’70s on CD, a blazingly venturesome band recording called Magic Cereal, featuring serrated guitar runs Robert Fripp might envy over a hard-hitting fusion ensemble. On the live circuit, Grassel remains busy, though not at the pace of the past. “In 1982 I played 514 gigs. In 2008, only 137,” he said matter-of-factly.



Runners-up: Evan Paydon, Jeanna Salzer


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