Desert Island Jazz
Beth Custer (2014)

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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
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
Freddy Cole
21 Nov
Beth Custer
01 Aug
Harry Duncan
03 Oct
Kai Eckhardt
03 Jan
Lisa Engelken
26 Sep
Don Friedman
07 Nov
Roger Glenn
05 Dec
Kimberly Gordon
28 Mar
Marty Grosz
29 Aug
Alex Hahn
08 Aug
Bill Holman
28 Feb
Tommy Igoe
07 Mar
Namita Kapoor
22 Aug
27 Jun
Lisa Mezzacappa
24 Oct
25 Jul
Glenn Richman
15 Aug
Alfredo Rodriguez
25 Apr
Dan Sabanovich
02 May
Grant Stewart
12 Dec
Judy Wexler
04 Apr