Desert Island Jazz
Beth Custer (2014)

Visit Website

San Francisco-based composer, performer, bandleader and producer Beth Custer has been at the forefront of the Bay Area's improvised music scene for many years.

Beth has some 40 recordings, a number easier to comprehend when you count the number of projects she is or has been involved with: Eighty Mile Beach, Clarinet Thing, Transmission, and so on, all the way back to Club Foot Orchestra, which performed live to silent movies in the 1980s.

Beth has always been a force, composing for chamber ensembles such as Turtle Island and Kronos, and for theater productions by the likes of Magic Theatre and California Shakespeare Theater. She's also written for a lot of dance companies, and her installations have been lauded. She has a real gift for film work, too. The Pacific Film Archive commissioned her to compose a live score for "My Grandmother", a rare Soviet-era silent film.

Beth has moved in and out of our creative music scene, performing with Fred Frith, Tin Hat, Miya Masaoka, Tango No. 9, ROVA, Violent Femmes, John Schott and Will Bernard among others. She's such a polymath that you have to read this far in order to learn that she plays all the clarinets and the piano, and also sings.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble Jodoji Brightness The Hand That Signed The Paper Antilles
# 2 Kamikaze Ground Crew The Scenic Route Funeral Oration New World Records
# 3 Igor Stravinsky The Rite of Spring/The King of the Stars, Mens' Chorus of the New England Conservatory with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas conductor The Rite of Spring Deutsche Grammophon
# 4 Keziah Jones Black Orpheus Kpafuca EMI France
# 5 Kate & Anna McGarrigle Matapedia Why Must We Die? Hannibal Records
# 6 The Jazz Passengers In Love I'll Pray For You High Street/Windham Hill Records
# 7 Beth Custer Train Song The Shirt I Slept In BC Records
# 8 Duke Ellington Blues in Orbit Blues in Orbit Columbia
# 9 Miles Davis Kind of Blue Freddie Freeloader Columbia
# 10 Beth Custer not commercially available Barrish Opening not commercially available
# 11 Rickie Lee Jones Ghostyhead Road Kill Mercury/Warner Bros
Book Patricia Highsmith, "The Complete Ripley Novels"
Luxury Item "A combination hot tub/sauna/masseuse ... [and] a chocolate dispenser"
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct