Steinway 2-Piano Festival

Emmet Cohen & Danny Grissett

Event Has Passed

Last Show: Thursday 23 rd March 2023

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is one of his generation's pivotal figures in music and the related arts. Downbeat praised the "nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary" he employs to communicate with other musicians and audiences at what he terms "the deepest level of humanity and individuality". Emmet is joined by pianist and composer Danny Grissett, the go-to keyboard man for the likes of Tom Harrell, Jeremy Pelt and Wayne Escoffey. Grissett also finds time to lead his own groups and is a composer of considerable merit. This duo pairing of two leading pianists who admire each other greatly, sees its premiere as part of the Steinway 2-Piano Festival.

The sound of stride piano vividly evokes scenes from the past: the roaring nightclubs of 1920s Harlem, the raucous birth pangs of jazz’s nascent years, the gymnastic burlesques of risk-taking silent movie madcaps. But in the music of pianist/composer Emmet Cohen, the past is always present, if not venturing with sly turns into an open-eared future as we enter into a new iteration of the roaring 20s.

Following his critically acclaimed 2021 Mack Avenue Records debut Future Stride, his new album Uptown in Orbit celebrates sacred connections and an evolution of sound among Cohen and his trio mates, bassist-composer Russell Hall and drummer-producer Kyle Poole. The album equally serves as a vessel for new energy from trumpeter Sean Jones and saxophonist Patrick Bartley.

“This period [during the pandemic] gave me time and space to explore collaborations with such a broad range of musical artists,” says the 2019 American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship award winner. “Through that experience, I learned a lot about myself and, with the trio, discovered what makes certain moments unforgettably special. I’ve been inspired by the myriad of musicians who have helped us evolve our concept and reach for a deeper purpose in our art.”

Danny Grissett is definitely one of today’s most exciting and respected pianists. The go-to keyboard man for the likes of Tom HarrellJeremy PeltWayne Escoffey, and others, Grissett also finds time to lead his own groups and is a composer of considerable merit. A rare artist who grips and holds attention, Grissett handles the classics of the American songbook with aplomb equal to the way he deals with the rather complex structures of his own intricate compositions. A gifted improviser with splendid technique, the pianist can also offer warmth and affection in melodic lines, the balance of fine taste, pungent swing, and a jubilant approach inevitably generating audience cheer.