Desert Island Jazz
Nolan Gasser (2013)

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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
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