Ditmas Park Corner Interview
I’m excited to announce that the popular local blog Ditmas Park Corner just posted an interview of me by author Chris Farrell. We discuss life as musician and studio owner at the intersection of Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Ditmas Park, and he asks some interesting questions about my piano and keyboard collection. You can check it out the original post here. Due to space constraints, DPC cut almost half of the content.
Chris has graciously offered to make the entire article available to me-
if you’d like to read the un-abridged version, the complete text is here.
What’s New? (And haven’t I read about it here?)
Goodness gracious, I realize it’s been almost 2 years since I last posted any news entries on this website. I’m so sorry! I’ve been so busy gigging, working in the studio and enjoying my family that I’ve been seriously remiss in posting anything new here. I promise to be better about it- there’s a lot to share. And my gigs page is current. In the meantime, here’s a super short synopsis of what I’m up to.
Gigs- My Friday evening trio residency continues in earnest at Hillstone. I have the privilege of playing with a hand-picked selection of the best rhythm section players in NYC and beyond. Join us for a drink, some spinach dip, steak or sushi, or just chill and listen as we play original music, jazz and standards, Stevie and Beatles tunes and more at the Ranch.
Bill, Still! Celebrates the Music of Bill Withers- we’re at Bar Lunatico every other Thursday in June, plus we’ve been playing the Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall.
Halcyon Jukebox takes you on a trip back in time to the glory days of 70’s AM and 80’s Soft-Rock radio. Some of NYC’s most fearless improvisers will balance reverence and exploration on a playlist of deliciously cheesy hits form yesteryear.
During the summer I’m often busy with The Loyales, a party band I play with that NY Magazine called “A living, breathing jukebox, full of expertly curated 45s.” Our playlist includes classic soul, Stax and Motown, classic country and bluegrass, vintage reggae and some choice 80’s favorites. We rarely showcase in public- mostly we play hipster weddings and swanky corporate parties. (Getting married??)
Studio- My studio, Benny’s Wash & Dry has been buzzing with activity lately… I’m always up to something creative and funky down here. We do live ensemble recording for jazz, singer-songwriters, rock, roots and beyond. Plus we do a lot of commercial and educational work. Check out the studio site for more details. Recent artists have included Joe Clausell, Rench, Lisa Parrott, Paul Beaudry & Dennis Day, John Thomas, Laurell Eden, Sal Cosentino, Melanie Gall, Yuma Sung, Cory Cullinan and more!
Recent gear improvements include microphones by Schoeps, SAMAR and Lawson, and preamps by John Hardy and Vintech.
Upcoming Travel- From June 15-26 I’m off to Israel for a tour with singer-songwriter KJ Denhert. We worked together regularly in the mid 2000’s and I’m excited to reunite with her for my first trip to Middle East since 1984.
This July and August I return for my 30-somthingth summer at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. I’ll be teaching and playing shows there, including a Steveie Wonder tribute featuring vocalist Claytoven Richardson on Wed, July 27th.
OK- I promise to write more soon. Thanks for visiting bennettpaster.com Don’t hesitate to contact me for more info about anything I do.
Studio Update: Spring-Summer 2014
Spring and Summer 2014 have been full of interesting and diverse projects at Benny’s Wash n’ Dry. Recent studio and recording project highlights have included:
- Composer/guitarist John Cabàn recording keyboards, strings and sax for the soundtrack to indie-documentary “Drill Baby, Drill”
- Italian saxophonist Biaggio Copa: new CD with Rob Garcia and Arùan Ortiz
- KJ Denhert recorded 3 new 2014 summer singles with me on piano, plus Jim Whitney and Joe Strasser
- Tracking for Dane Terry’s new disc with producer Matt Katz
- Singer/songwriter Michael Harren tracking strings, piano and oboe
- Work on a 25-song French educational project with singer/songwriter Vincent Lebrun
- Jazz singer Kim Cameron’s new CD, produced by Paul Beaudry
- Piano tracks for 2 new Fringe Festival shows by singer Melanie Gall
- Keyboards for legendary remixer/producer/DJ Joe Clausell
- Keyboards for Lipbone Redding’s new CD with producer Jeff Eyrich
- Piano tracks for Music & The Brain, a piano education program for public schools
Fall & Winter 2013-14
Fall and Winter 2013-14 were busy times at Benny’s Wash n’ Dry. They saw the completion of four major album-length recording projects by four completely different artists:
• Soulful Australian singer/songwriter Dan Bolton, completed “The New York Sessions,” which turned out to be a double CD of his original jazzy pop songs featuring the multi-reed talents of fellow Aussie Adrian Cunningham.
• Jazz vocalist Ellynne Plotnick completed her new release “A Little Bit of Moonlight” Produced by bassist Paul Beaudry, it features legendary guitarist Gene Bertoncini.
• Classically trained singer (and popular knitting podcaster) Melanie Gall recorded a unique collection of World War II Era songs about knitting called “Sweeter in a Sweater.” The disc blends 40’s jazz stylings with ballads, marches, Rhumbas, Chas Chas and even a bit of spoken word comedy.
• Gettysburg College piano professor Jocelyn Swigger recorded a solo-piano collection of 1910-20’s parlor songs for the Con Brio label entitled “Troublesome Moon.”
Other notable clients and projects included singer/songwriter John Thomas, who continued work on his various original songs and children’s music projects, Music and the Brain, a non-profit charitable organization that develops piano-study curriculums for elementary school students, singer Lisala Beatty who tracked basics for a jazz-funk-hip hop collection of re-imaginings of jazz standards.
And I performed and recorded keyboard tracks for projects by CeCe Gianotti, Lipbone, Jonathan Coulton, Ed Littman, Sean McMorris among others.
I recently upgraded the interface card in my primary A/D converters (Lynx Aurora 16) from USB to Thunderbolt, the latest, fastest bus technology available. The improved performance is astounding: monitoring latency is imperceptible and the system is more stable, even at low buffer sizes. What does this mean to me, you ask? Simple: A better-sounding monitoring experience for performers while they record, and fewer potential computer problems (which makes for a happier engineer). So far, after a month of tests and real-world sessions, our system been incredibly stable- I’m delighted.
Studio and Artist Website Redesign
I’m excited to announce that my personal artist website, bennettpaster.com, and the Benny’s Wash n’ Dry Studio site, bennettpasterstudio.com, have been totally re-designed, updated and integrated. It’s now easier then ever before to get complete information about my original music and projects and also about my recording studio and production services all in one place. My artist site features promo info, press, photos and streaming audio from all of my recordings, as well as some rare and unreleased recordings. The studio site has a complete gear and services lists, audio samples of projects we’ve recorded and keyboard tracks I’ve played as a sideman, plus client testimonials and more. Web Guru (and swinging pianist) Matthew Fries, from Equal Temperament Solutions, designed and programmed the WordPress template based on original design elements by Tom Beckham (designer and vibraphone master). Have a look and let me know what you think!