It was the kind of endorsement most rising guitarists can only dream of, and then some. In his interview for Vintage Guitar magazines February 2016 cover story, Pat Metheny was asked to name some younger musicians whod impressed him. The best guitar player Ive heard in maybe my entire life is floating around now, Pasquale Grasso, said the jazz-guitar icon and NEA Jazz Master. This guy is doing something so amazingly musical and so difficult.Mostly what I hear now are guitar players who sound a little bit like me mixed with a little bit of [John Scofield] and a little bit of [Bill Frisell], he continued. Whats interesting about Pasquale is that he doesnt sound anything like that at all. In a way, it is a little bit of a throwback, because his modelwhich is an incredible model to haveis Bud Powell. He has somehow captured the essence of that language from piano onto guitar in a way that almost nobody has ever addressed. Hes the most significant new guy Ive heard in many, many years.As hes done with many rising jazz stars, Metheny later invited Grasso over to his New York pad to jam and share some wisdom. Hes since become a generous presence in Grassos life, and his assessment of Grassos playing isno surprisespot-on. Born in Italy and now based in New York City, the 30-year- old guitarist has developed an astounding technique and concept informed not by jazz guitarists so much as by bebop pioneers like Powell, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and the classical-guitar tradition. His new digital-only EP series, available beginning in June from Sony Masterworks, showcases Grasso in the solo-guitar format, where his intensive studies of both midcentury jazz and classical meld into a signature mastery that is, remarkably, at once unprecedented and evocative.