Paul Asaro is known as one of the finest of a select group of pianists who have mastered the demanding two-handed jazz and ragtime piano styles from the first half of the 20th century. The Stride piano of James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith and Fats Waller, the New Orleans styles of Jelly Roll Morton, the ragtime of Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake, stomps, boogie woogie and swing, Asaro plays them all with a fine ear for detail, blending the elements into his own personal style. Indeed, most of Paul’s earliest influences were more recent pianists such as Dick Wellstood, Ralph Sutton and Butch Thompson, musicians who worked within these traditions while at the same time developing their own unique approach.
In a career now spanning two decades, Paul has performed at theaters and clubs worldwide and has appeared at such major venues as the Chicago Jazz Festival, Ravinia, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal and the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has performed onstage with such musical legends and luminaries as Leon Redbone, Steve Allen, Marian McPartland, Butch Thompson, Jeff Healy and Vince Giordano. He was the featured pianist in the Obie award winning Broadway production of “Jelly Roll! The Music and the Man”, performing solo and accompanying the show’s creator and star Vernel Bagneris. Asaro also played for the national tour and numerous regional theater productions of “Jelly Roll!” including a run in Philadelphia resulting in a Barrymore Award nomination for best supporting actor. Asaro has had long runs as house pianist aboard the legendary New Orleans steamboat “Delta Queen” and in Chicago with Jim Beebe’s band featuring former Louis Armstrong All-Star Barrett Deems and the legendary tenor man Franz Jackson.