Grammy® nominee guitarist Alex de Grassi performs live score for Ozu's classic silent film at the Quick Center for the Arts March 20



Image: A DegrassiGuitarist Alex de Grassi loves a musical challenge. On Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m., Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts presents this master finger-style, steel-string acoustic guitarist performing his original score live for the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's 1934 classic film, "A Story of Floating Weeds." Tickets are $20 for this Arts & Minds presentation.

Considered a major influence on such contemporary filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, Ozu and this classic film also captured the attention of guitarist de Grassi. In 2006, he was one of six guitarists commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival to compose or improvise a score and perform live at a festival of Asian films. Perhaps because he was born in Japan, de Grassi began screening Japanese films, which is when he discovered the work of Ozu. He found the black and white photography stunning and the film's metaphoric story of a traveling theater troupe as "floating weeds" intriguing. The plight of the protagonist, who makes an attempt to bond with a son, ignorant of the fact that the man is his father, resonated. And then there was the challenge of creating music that connected with plot and character.

According to an interview in JazzTimes magazine, de Grassi wrote themes for each character that have variations. "...I also left a lot of room for improvisation, especially with the longer scenes ... There are those same themes in it each time, but there's enough improvisation that they're quite different with each performance. I think that's what makes it interesting."

It might be said that "interesting" is a theme for de Grassi's musical life. Over the last three decades as a soloist and collaborator, this consummate guitarist has explored a variety of musical directions and has stretched his repertoire to include interpretations of jazz classics with "Bolivian Blues Bar" and "Tatamonk," on which he collaborated with Chilean folk musician Quique Cruz.

His many recordings have featured such guest musicians as Patrick O'Hearn, Zakir Hussain, Luis Conte, Paul McCandless and Mark Egan. De Grassi's tenth recording, "The Water Garden" garnered a Grammy® nomination, an Indie Award nomination and was named Crossroads Magazine's Best Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year.

Tickets are available at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Special offers and discounts are available through the Quick Center's e-mail list. Join, by contacting boxoffice@quickcenter.com. Become a fan of the Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook and keep up-to-date with the latest performance news, plus special offers and discounts. Find the Quick Center at www.facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter.

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Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Access to the Quick Center for the Arts is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road.  Special note: From Oct. 4, 2010 through June 30, 2012, the southern end of North Benson Road (Rt. 135) will be closed to traffic on nights and weekends. Round Hill Road intersects with Barlow and provides access to the Quick Center for the Arts.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 3, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 223