It’s Spring in Kensington, Brooklyn, where tulips and azaleas are brightening yards, and where we’re all hunkering down in quarantine, practicing social isolation (as I hope you are, too). I’ve been practicing my piano and organ, and also working hard on my mixing skills. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented so many challenges around the world; NYC has certainly been pummeled. In addition to working to stay healthy, we’ve been exploring new ways to staying creatively vital.
Sadly, I can’t welcome you into the studio in person right now, but I want to remind you that I’ve been successfully remote collaborating for many years.
Wash & Dry Studio remote services include:
- Playing and recording: Steinway piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes, wurli & clavinet, synth & sampled instrument tracks for your music
- Remote mixing, no matter where your project was recorded
- Co-writing & arranging
- Transcription & notation
- Consulting to help you set up your own small home recording setup
More info and sound samples here. Reach out- let’s talk about how we can work together, even if we have to be apart. Above all, stay safe. Can’t wait to see you all on stage and in the studio soon.
(Sorry about the amateur design work… I promise not to make your album cover, just help with your music!
Photos by Eliot Paster, custom needlework by Melanie Gall.)
I’m delighted to announce the release of my new album Indivisible, available now!
Deep groove is the number one priority on Indivisible, my latest recording of melodic instrumental jazz. Each of the album’s 10 original songs explores a different flavor of groove. From 5/4 swing to funky 70s samba, from New Orleans to Nordic open 8th, and onwards to funk, country waltz, fusion, surf and beyond, this collection takes you on a tour of rhythmic styles, drawing connections between contrasting beats through our constant commitment to groove. Recorded at my Brooklyn studio in mid 2018, each song is produced with a unique sonic identity to match its style. The magic is in how this hand-picked band of groove-master musicians- most of whom I’ve collaborated with for more than 20 years- draw this collection of diverse songs together into one cohesive, accessible album. This is Indivisible.
Tuesday 9/3, 8:30-10pm
406 3rd Ave @ 6th St, BK
Thursday 11/14/19 at 8:30-10pm
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3
185 Orchard St, NYC
Bennett Paster- keyboards
Jeff Hanley- bass
Tony Mason- drums
Al Street- guitar
Kenny Brooks- tenor sax
Samuel Torres- congas & percussion
Todd Isler- percussion
All compositions by Bennett Paster
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Bennett Paster at Benny’s Wash & Dry, Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk
(c) (p) 2019 Wurliboy Music (SESAC)
The tulips and crocuses are popping up in Brooklyn- another Fall and Winter seems to be succumbing to the relentlessly encroaching Spring. It’s a great time to look back on all the hard work that I’ve been doing in my studio, Benny’s Wash & Dry, both on my own and with a collection of talented musician artists.
I love to produce recording projects, both for instrumentalists and singers. From conceptualizing the project and picking repertoire, to finding the right band personnel, through the arranging, recording and mixing process, I enjoy the journey! Last Fall I had the pleasure of co-producing two sensational singers, Ellynne Rey and Melanie Gall. Both of their new recordings are available now.
Connecticut-based vocalist/songwriter Ellynne Rey’s The Birdsong Project features a broad-range of jazz approaches to a diverse collection of songs about birds. Ellynne and I worked together to craft the arrangements over a period of several months of rehearsal, then we recorded the album in two sessions at the Wash & Dry. The resulting album is well rounded, exciting and eminently listenable. From the classics “Skylark,” “Blackbird” and “Ornithology,” to the unexpected: Schubert’s “Die Krahe (The Crow)” and Joni Mitchell’s “Song to a Seagull,” to Rey’s original jazz waltz “The Snowy Owl,” the album features a talented group of experienced NYC-based jazz musicians, including Rey on vocals and me on piano and organ, plus Joel Frahm on sax, Alex Norris on trumpet, Freddie Bryant on guitar, Marcus Mclauraine on bass and drummers Anthony Pinciotti and Joe Strasser. The packaging also showcases her formidable talent as a wildlife photographer. This was our second recording project together and I’m delighted to have had both opportunities to grow together as artists. http://www.ellynnesings.com/
Canadian chanteuse Melanie Gall travels the world presenting her original shows in Fringe Festivals, theaters and beyond. I’ve arranged and recorded many of the soundtrack and accompaniments to these shows. When she approached me wanting to put together a recording of songs that have inspired and influenced her over the years, I jumped at the opportunity. The songs naturally divided themselves into two groups: half required a standard pop & jazz rhythm section; the other half seemed to merit an acoustic string band. I found the perfect group of folks who could fulfill both and we set out on a campaign of realizing her vision. Highway Rhapsody features Gall presenting 3 standards: “But Not for Me,” “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and “My Ship”, and a group of songs which were new to me, including: “Gulf Coast Highway,” “Let the Cold Wind Blow,” “The Queen and the Soldier,” “I Will Play a Rhapsody” and more… It’s a crazy collection of folk songs, standards, pop songs, country classics and more, unified by her love of all them! The album features: Gall on vocals, me on keyboards, plus Ross Martin on guitars, Jacob Joliffe on mandolin, Bobby Hawk on fiddle, Jim Whitney on bass and Robert Weiss on drums. https://www.melaniegall.com/
In addition to composing, producing, performing and recording my own music, I enjoy supporting other artists as a sideman, both playing live and also contributing keyboard tracks “remotely” from my studio. Here are two featured sideman projects from the last few months:
In his own words, Jonathan Coulton’s Some Guys “covers of 70s soft rock songs that sound exactly like the originals.” Produced by the amazing Christian Cassan, we set out to recreate the smooth magic of the songs that fueled many a long car ride with my folks back in my childhood in New Mexico. It was a joy (and a ton of work) to learn and recreate, note-for-note classics including: Baker Street, How Deep is Your Love, On and On, Make it With You and many more. Listening to it is like time travel- I’m transported back to the back of my mom’s Buick with the maroon interior. Dig it. https://www.jonathancoulton.com/
Sean McMorris’s new album C’est La Vie is the third I’ve played on for the LA-based singer/songwriter. Also produced by Christian Cassan, it’s a spirited collection of original rock and pop featuring me on vintage keyboards. https://www.seanmcmorris.com/home
Other recent clients at the Wash & Dry include: Joe Clausell, Xavier Casellas and Emillio Solla, Ethan Eubanks, Storefront Music, Stefan Litzky, John Thomas, Janie Barnett, Ricky Tinelli, Annette Genovese, Fiona Smart, Akiko Matsumoto, Aaron Morrill, Dahlia Ross, Dennis Day, Jawney Conroy, Alex Khurgen, Yuma Sung, Paul Spencer, Ed Littman, Sidecar Astronauts, Michael Harren, Kim Cameron, Juwanna Jenkins, Carol Lipnik and more…
If you’ve got a musical vision you’d like help realizing, please reach out– I’d love to discuss your project with you to explore if we’d be well suited to working together. Come join the family at Benny’s Wash & Dry!
2017 and early 2018 have continued to find me busy recording and producing great music at my studio Benny’s Wash n’ Dry. Recent studio and recording project highlights have included:
- I added 2 exceptional condenser microphones to my mic locker made by ADK: Z-Mod 67 and Z-Mod 251. Special thanks to ADK founder Larry Villela for his help in finding the best choices for my studio.
- Recording and mixing my original music with my Trio Brasiliero featuring Gregory Ryan and Alex Katz with a special guest appearance by the New York Horns (listen to that track here).
- Work on a new original collaboration with Joe Clausell and Anthony Pinciotti that fuses my original instrumental funk and jazz with Joe and Anthony’s rhythmic and textural skills. Sam Thomas guested on Oud on one track, so far!
- Tracked new release by phenomenal young Haitian drummer Johnbern Thomas and his band; mixed by Ben Rubin
- Work on a new full-length project by Canadian singer Melanie Gall that runs the gamut stylistically from jazz to rock to Americana & string band. Working title: Songs I Like
- Recorded vocals for Kat Gang’s new CD which was recently mixed and master by Dave Darlington
- Mixed baritone Bremner Duthie’s latest release “Bremner Duthie Sings Kurt Weill vol 2”
- Recording several library music projects with producer/drummer Ethan Eubanks
- Recorded James Shipp and Nadje Nordhuis duo and James Shipp solo projects
- I’ve performed and co-written many tracks with legendary house DJ and producer Joe Clausell
- I recorded and played keyboards for Jonathan Coulton’s latest recording Solid State, and his super-secret next release, with produced by the amazing Christian Cassan.
- Singer/songwriter Michael Harren tracking string quartet, piano & voice for his suite about animal rights
- Producer Brinsley Evans, Lisa Molina and I have co-written a song that we hope to place in a major motion picture… standby for more details
- Co-writing with Hannah Gill and Brad Hammonds for Hannah’s upcoming album
- Produced and arranged several songs for jazz Singer Dennis Day which we recorded at Sear Sound, in Manhattan, recorded and mixed by Chris Allen.
- Keyboard tracks for artists including: Storm, Jim Satten, CeCe Gianotti, Rench, Sean Mc Morris, Horace Scott, Annette Genovese, Pete Miser,
- Engineered projects for: Victor Lin & Ben Flocks, Nikki Denner, Carol Lipnik & John Kelly, Drew Paralic, Glenn Spivack, Paul Spencer, Jacob Joilff (Pat Ferguson), Myriam Phiro, Sheryl Bailey
You may be familiar with singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton (aka JoCo) as the house musician on the NPR game show “Ask Me Another” (recorded live at Brooklyn’s Bell House), or perhaps you heard his “Thing a Week” podcast where he recorded, produced and posted song every week for a year. If so, then you know he’s a pithy songwriter with a knack for writing catchy, sardonic, modern pop songs about literally anything! I’ve been recording keyboard tracks for Jonathan and his producer Christian Cassan for many years now, including music for the TV show A Crime to Remember,” but they recently released JoCo’s strongest original recording yet, Solid State. I’m proud to have contributed some piano and keyboard tracks to this epic concept album that is available as an impressive LP package including full-color graphic novel and digital download encoded on a mock-science lab ID card with USB flash drive built in. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard Indie Album charts, and I’ve enjoyed listening to it quite a bit. Here’s an article about JoCo from the Huffington Post with more info. Check out Solid State wherever you stream or purchase music, know what I mean?
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.
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.
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 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.