Posted: February 3, 2014

Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful


My Latest CD

I’m delighted and proud to announce the release of my new CD Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful.  The disc is a broad-based modern jazz recording showcasing my latest compositions and arrangements for jazz quintet and sextet.  Recorded one sweltering July day after a series of performances, the album vividly captures snapshots in our development.  The band effortlessly integrates swing with Latin and Brazilian rhythms to forge a contemporary, accessible style.  Our group interplay and unwavering melodicism render a rich, eminently listenable music that will draw you in and bring you along on our journey.

Listen to RPOTB

BP_01_final.inddRelentless Pursuit of the Beautiful features: Joel Frahm (tnr), Tim Armacost (tnr/sop), Alex Pope Norris (tpt), Bennett Paster (pno/comp), Gregory Ryan (bass), Willard B. Dyson Jr. (drms) with special guest Gilad (perc).

To me, writing and playing music has always been a mysterious and intuitive process.  I rarely approach it with my intellect leading the way.  Over time I have learned to tap into my inner voice, to trust it and to let it flow.  I’m constantly striving to make my music simple, more essential; to strip away unnecessary artifice and adornment.  Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful is a celebration of those efforts.  “The Beautiful” to which the title refers isn’t traditional aesthetic beauty, rather it’s honest musical expression from within.  This expression forms the core of my sound.  It incorporates a wide spectrum of emotions using sonic textures and colors which create a picture of life through music.

Life in general and music in particular seem to be becoming ever more complicated. Conversely, I’m trying to find the shortest distance between musical inspiration and it’s expression.  The improvisational process in jazz has long sought to minimize that disconnect.  But the compositional process is similar to making a sculpture, refining an idea little by little until it’s perfect.  Lately, I’ve been trying to find a way to preserve the spontaneity of improvisation in my compositions.  Many of the songs in this collection were composed away from the piano using only a pencil and staff paper, letting my inner melodic sense be my compass.  These particular songs come from my heart and mind, not the familiar pathways that my fingers comfortably tread when I compose at a keyboard.  In the others that I did discover at the piano, I’ve sought to preserve the initial inspiration at the genesis of the idea.

The exceptional musicians on this recording have helped bring these ideas and this music to life.  They animated the static ideas from paper into joyous noise, effortlessly balancing the written and the free elements in each song.  I’m thankful to them all for their contributions to this project and to you, the listener for joining us on this journey in pursuit of this elusive beauty.  Thanks for listening!

Bennett Paster, Brooklyn, NY July 2012