Desert Island Jazz
Nolan Gasser (2013)

Visit Website

Nolan Gasser is doubly a rara avis: not only is he a native Californian, but he's equally at home in the worlds of jazz and classical music.

Nolan started playing piano at age four, composing at age eight, and playing professionally at age 11. After playing a shopping mall piano for a dare, he spent five years playing there for money at weekends, everything, he says "from Scott Joplin and Mozart to 'Stairway to Heaven' … If you want to be a musician, you've go to do it all, you've got to play everything from soup to nuts."

After getting his BA at Cal State Northridge, Nolan took off to Paris to study, where he was smitten by Renaissance music. After returning to the USA, he got his Master's in composition at NYU, and later a Ph.D at Stanford University in musicology, an interest that had been awoken in Paris.

Nolan does do it all: he performs as part of the San Francisco Jazz Quartet, and his classical compositions have been performed around the world by orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists. Has a busy year ahead with three new projects.

Perhaps his claim to fame, though, is as the architect of the Music Genome Project at Pandora Radio, where he ran the music operation and was the Chief Musicologist from the company's founding as Savage Beast Technologies in 2000.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 John Coltrane Traneing In Traneing In Prestige
# 2 Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Ella and Louis Isn't This a Lovely Day? Verve
# 3 Cannonball Adderley Somethin' Else Autumn Leaves Blue Note
# 4 Billie Holiday Ken Burns Jazz Solitude Verve
# 5 Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard Gloria's Step Riverside
# 6 Josquin des Prez Motets, Antiphons and Sequences, Choir of New College Oxford directed by Edward Higginbotham Praeter Rerum Seriem Meridian
# 7 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra Black, Brown and Beige Part 1: Blues Columbia
# 8 The Beatles Abbey Road I Want You (She's So Heavy) EMI
         
Book Dante's "Divine Comedy" with English parallel text by Allen Mandelbaum
         
Luxury Item An espresso machine with unlimited coffee
Castaways by date
Steve Adams
30 May
Cheryl Bentyne
17 Oct
Will Bernard
11 Apr
Barbara Borden
21 Mar
Jim Butler
13 Jun
Ian Carey
21 Feb
Judy Chaikin
17 Jan
Mike Clark
10 Oct
Beth Custer
01 Aug
Harry Duncan
03 Oct
Kai Eckhardt
03 Jan
Lisa Engelken
26 Sep
Kimberly Gordon
28 Mar
Marty Grosz
29 Aug
Alex Hahn
08 Aug
Bill Holman
28 Feb
Tommy Igoe
07 Mar
Namita Kapoor
22 Aug
  Meklit
27 Jun
Lisa Mezzacappa
24 Oct
  Najee
25 Jul
Glenn Richman
15 Aug
Alfredo Rodriguez
25 Apr
Dan Sabanovich
02 May
Judy Wexler
04 Apr