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  • 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
    Castaways by date
    Chris Amberger
    23 Jun
    Gerald Beckett
    01 Sep
    Buzz Brooks
    28 Apr
    Jarrett Cherner
    16 Jun
    Kev Choice
    30 Jun
    Anat Cohen
    28 Jul
    Natalie Cressman
    10 Feb
    Matt Eakle
    15 Dec
    Hershey Felder
    07 Apr
    Mitchell Feldman
    18 Aug
    Mike Galisatus
    03 Nov
    Aaron Germain
    06 Jan
    Robin Gregory
    17 Feb
    Tamir Hendelman
    13 Oct
    Kasey Knudsen
    17 Mar
    Matthew Montfort
    26 May
    Dan Montgomery
    06 Oct
    Andrea Motis
    21 Jul
    Ray Obiedo
    10 Mar
    Jayn Pettingill
    17 Nov
    John Pizzarelli
    25 Aug
    Sandi Poindexter
    24 Mar
    Don Randi
    20 Oct
    David Rogers
    24 Feb
    Eric Whittington
    29 Sep
    George Winston
    04 Aug
    Lizz Wright
    09 Jun
    Jason Yeager
    02 Jun