Standing Room Only

By Eliot Grasso

Six comments

I love this kid……

Guest musicians include Jim Eagan, Patrick Mangan, Zan McLeod & Andy Thurston.

From the liner notes, from Robbie Hannan:

"I first met Eliot Grasso in Achill Island, Co. Mayo, in the west of Ireland in August 1999 at the island’s annual summer school, Scoil Acla. After hearing him play the pipes for just a short while, I was immediately aware that I was in the presence of a master musician, despite the fact that he was still in his mid-teens. Although he had only been playing the pipes for a few years at that stage, his technique & tone had developed to astonishing levels of excellence & richness & his repertoire was seemingly endless. This combined with his intuitive sense of melodic & technical variation, makes him one of the most creative & dynamic musicians in the contemporary world of Irish traditional music.

"One of the most striking facets of Eliot’s music is that he displays an intimate knowledge & understanding of every tune he plays. This enables him to develop original & attractive melodic variations which are one of the most distinctive hallmarks of his piping. Another prodigious aspect of his playing is that he has succeeded in taking tunes not normally associated with the pipes & making them accessible to pipers in a manner which both complements the pieces themselves & the idiosyncracies of the instrument. He revels in playing tunes in keys such as G & D minor & A major, keys where many pipers fear to tread, despite the fact that many nineteenth century chanters were designed to facilitate playing in these keys. To his great credit, Eliot has spent many hours absorbing the finer points of the music of a range of virtuoso performers, both pipers & non-pipers, & this experience in itself has given his music a very solid & authentic basis. His appreciation & performance of the standard piping repertoire leaves nothing to be desired &, futhermore, he has composed many fine tunes himself which show a great understanding of both the pipes & traditional music itself.

"I feel that this debut album from Eliot does him great justice & I have no doubt that it is only to be the first of many recordings in what is sure to be an illustrious musical odyssey."

I don’t think you can purchase Eliot’s CD on amazon, so here’s a link to cdbaby:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/eliotgrasso

Up Baltimore!!!!!

Yay! Go Eliot!

Glad to see the CD was finally released. I know it was in the works for a while. Can’t wait to go home during spring break, and pick up a copy.

Oh, and anyone interested in other ITM coming from young Baltimoreans, check out Jim Eagan’s solo CD (posted on this site), At Home (Rosie Shipley, Matt Mulqueen, Rosie’s brothers— names escape me at the moment), Where I Am (Brendan Callahan— member of this site— now in Philly), and any number of recordings from Jesse Smith (although he’s now in Galway). All of this really doesn’t pertain directly to Eliot’s CD, but I think it’s cool how many guys around my age are releasing such wonderful music. Makes me proud to call myself a Baltimorean :)

Don’t you mean a Bawl-moron, Jason? *grin* That’s OK, I am too. :)

Too bad I can’t get to the CD launch party at J Patrick’s on 2/15… check out Eliot’s website for details, I put it in the links section a while back….. if you go, let us know how it goes!!

Technically I’m from the suburbs of Baltimore, so my accent is a bit weaker. Guess I’m probably closer to a Bawl-da-morean. Unfortunately I won’t be at the release (I’ll be at the Valley Forge Scottish/ Irish Fest up here in Philly), but hopefully my mom can at least go. If not, she takes IT fiddle lessons from Donna Long, so I’m sure I’ll get a thorough recounting of the event, which I’ll gladly pass along.

~~Jason

A true musician

I had the honor to perform and record with Eliot when he moved to Seattle. He is not just a great piper — he is also an extraordinary student (and teacher) of music in general. His piping is just one expression of his deep musical knowledge.