picture of Will Rast
Will Rast
Will (* 1981 in Fairfax County) began playing piano when he was five years old. His parents gave him a child-size keyboard and a set of Great Composer tapes for Christmas. After listening to a biography of Mozart, he came downstairs the next morning and began playing Mozart tunes on his new piano. He soon began studying classical piano and by the age of ten, he won first place in a young pianists competition at the Peabody School of Music (now The Peabody Institute) in Baltimore. That year, he also wrote a short piano piece called "Fantasia in A Minor", which took a first in a National Association of Music Educators competition. He was invited to play his peace at the NAMM annual meeting in New Orleans, where he fell in love with jazz.
He attended a small Episcopal high school in Bethesda, Maryland, and anchored the school’s award winning jazz band. Will studied at the Manhattan School of Music. As a student of world-renowned pianist, Fred Hirsch, he focused on jazz improvisation and theory. In 2000, while a sophomore at the Manhattan School, Will first saw the Brooklyn-based afrobeat band Antibalas at the now-legendary club No. Moore in New York. After hearing Antibalas that night, Will says he was inspired to form his own large and small funk/groove related ensembles after returning home to Washington, D.C.
After a seven-year run as keyboards player for Antibalas, including recording for their 2019 Grammy-nominated album Fu Chronicles (Best Global Music), Rast moved to New Orleans.
After becoming well known as an accompanist and side man in multiple genres, including several tours with Grammy-winning pop singer, Mýa and Argentine songwriter and guitarist Federico Aubele, Will caught the ear of Eric Hilton, producer and co-founder of Thievery Corporation, and began working with him on several recording projects related to their label, ESL Music, including Thievery Corporation’s seventh studio album "Culture of Fear." Another of these projects was the fourth record by Ocote Soul Sounds, the exciting collaboration between Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma’s Adrian Quesada and Antibalas founder, Martin Perna. ESL also released two records by Will’s own project, The Funk Ark, the second of which (High Noon) produced critical acknowledgment that the group had become forerunners in the resurgence of the Afrobeat genre. In 2020, Will moved to Mexico.
from everybodywiki.com


This Is The Rodney Richardson Trio
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Rodney Richardson, guitar
Will Rast, organ
Larry Ferguson, drums

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