b. Joseph Vincent Ascione, 14 March 1961, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Ascione began playing music at the age of four, developing skills on piano, guitar and bass, but concentrating on drums. His studies brought him degrees not only in music but also in computer engineering, facets of his manifold abilities that he would eventually combine. His musical interests spread wide, encompassing most musical forms including classical but it was as a jazz drummer that he first began making his mark. At first in New York, then nationwide, he established his reputation, appearing at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall. Latterly, his international reputation has grown owing to concert and festival appearances. Unusually for a musician of his generation, in addition to an expected interest in contemporary jazz forms, Ascione also became a vibrant mainstream performer. Playing with great verve, allied to subtle dynamics and a fluid swing, he has supplied the rhythmic pulse for numerous small group sessions both live and on record. His versatility is hinted at by the broad musical range covered by some of the musicians with whom he has worked: Ken Peplowski, Lars Erstrand, Herb Ellis, Howard Alden, Dan Barrett, Randy Sandke, Jon Faddis, Houston Person, Cab Calloway, Al Hirt and Dr. John. An album dedicated to Buddy Rich points towards one of Ascione’s influences. He also teaches, and is a part-time member of the faculty of the New School for Contemporary Jazz in New York.
In the late 90s, Ascione was eagerly combining his interests in music and computers, developing music technology concepts via computers. In particular, this was achieved through his involvement in 1999 with guitarist Frank Vignola in the establishment of a revolutionary Internet website that allows musicians to download play-along music. Additionally, the corresponding musical charts, complete for each instrument of the musician’s choice, can be accessed. All this is available in many musical categories, including jazz, rock, funk, blues, Cuban, Brazilian and others.