Bennett PasterBennett was born in Washington D.C. in 1970. Two years later, his family relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he grew up. Throughout high school he played jazz and popular music; from age 14 he performed as a professional musician around New Mexico. Deciding to pursue a career in music, Paster moved to Boston, MA in 1988.
He attended college simultaneously at Tufts University and New England Conservatory of Music, receiving both a BA in English and a BM in Jazz Studies. At NEC he studied with Dave Holland, Cecil McBee, Geri Allen, Paul Bley and Stanley Cowell. In addition to increasing his knowledge of jazz at NEC, living in Boston broadened Paster's influences to include 20th century classical music and avant-garde improvisation.
Committed to furthering his career and his musical development, Paster moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1997. It was here that he began to develop his newly found love for Afro-Cuban music and Latin jazz. In 1999 Paster and Gregory Ryan founded Grupo Yanqui to perform their original Latin jazz and to interpret classic Latin standards. This band was selected to tour internationally as a part of the prestigious US State Department / Kennedy Center "American Music Abroad 2005" program.
Featuring Paster on Hammond organ and vintage keyboards, Organic! is a funky psychedelic organ trio. Organic! performs live improvised compositions. Each performance features spontaneous new music that is fresh but rooted in the tradition of 70's instrumental funk and R&B.
Bennett was a finalist in the 2004 Great American Jazz Piano competition, held annually in Jacksonville, Florida. He performed solo and trio in front of more than 1000 people.He has performed original music at clubs, concerts and festivals in the United States, the Caribbean, the UK and Norway. He has been a featured performer with jazz stars Cassandra Wilson, Kurt Elling, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart, Tootie Heath and Ndugu Chancler, among others.
"My diverse musical background and life experiences all contribute to my personal style," Paster said. "I thrive playing in many contrasting groups- I can't choose just one style of music. My colleagues appreciate the broad palette of styles in which I am conversant. I always try to find the most appropriate sound to bring to any song or project. My motto is: serve the song."
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