Jazz pianist and composer Alan Pasqua

Alan Pasqua

ALAN PASQUA

Alan Pasqua (born 1952) is a Steinway Piano artist, Grammy Nominee and Professor of Jazz Studies at USC Thornton School of Music. Pasqua is a versatile artist and seamlessly moves between jazz, pop and rock music. As a session musician, he has toured and recorded with Bob Dylan, Joe Henderson, Santana, Cher, Eddie Money, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, Stanley Clarke, and many others.

ALAN PASQUA‘S BIOGRAPHY

Alan Pasqua grew up in Roselle Park, New Jersey. Pasqua began studying piano at the age of seven, playing both classical and jazz. He attended Indiana University and received his bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory. 

While performing a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1975, Pasqua met the legendary drummer Tony Williams. Pasqua was asked to join The New Tony Williams Lifetime along with guitarist Allan Holdsworth. After recording two “Lifetime” albums for Columbia Records, Pasqua relocated in Los Angeles. His career in L.A. broadened as he started playing with more rock and pop artists. He has been a member of the bands of Bob Dylan and Santana.

Some of his other pop album credits include: Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Queen Latifa. In addition, he has worked with composers John Williams, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini and on motion picture soundtracks. Alan composed the soundtrack for Adam Sandler’s Disney hit movie, The Waterboy, and was co- composer for the CBS Evening News Theme during the Dan Rather and Scott Pelley years.

Alan Pasqua piano
Alan Pasqua

ALAN PASQUA AND BOB DYLAN

One of the most notable chapters of Alan Pasqua’s career is his work with the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Pasqua first met Bob Dylan in 1978 when he was invited to join Dylan’s band on the famous world tour. Pasqua, renowned for his jazz-influenced piano work is also fluent with blues and rock, and had experience performing with rock bands. He infused Dylan’s compositions with nuanced piano arrangements, adding depth and complexity to his well known melodies. The year-long tour included 115 shows across Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe, to a total audience of two million people. Pasqua looked back fondly on his time during the tour.

“Every night for that better part of that year, he and I played two duets [“I Want You” and “Girl from the North Country”]. I looked forward to those two duets every night so much because it was a moment just for me to be alone and play with him and get to do a little bit more than I would normally do as
a keyboardist in the structure of the band. It was never a burnout thing for me.”     
 -Alan Pasqua

After the tour came to an end, the musicians went their separate ways. Pasqua didn’t hear from Bob Dylan for nearly 4 decades until a mysterious request in 2017. Alan Pasqua was asked to create a piano piece for an undisclosed project for Dylan, described as ‘musings that are slightly bluesy, but not really. They’re not necessarily connected, but they’re not terribly random either.’ That 30-minute composition ended up providing the soundtrack for Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech. 

Shortly after the Nobel speech, Pasqua collaborated with Bob Dylan on the song Murder Most Foul, a 17 minute single released in advance of Dylan’s most recent Album Rough And Rowdy Ways. The song features Pasqua on the piano along with Benmont Tench on keyboards and Blake Mills on guitar. (Fiona Apple also plays keyboards on the song, though she wasn’t on the same session)

Read the interview with Ray Padgett discussing Alan Pasqua’s time and musical history with Bob Dylan.

THE LATER YEARS

In 2008, Pasqua joined forces with Peter Erskine and Dave Carpenter, arranging, co-producing and playing on the Grammy Award nominated trio album “Standards”. His recent releases are Twin Bill (BFM JAZZ) and Northern Lights. Twin Bill features Pasqua recorded on two pianos, playing the music of Bill Evans. Northern Lights is a new set of Pasqua original compositions, exploring his roots in classical, pop and jazz idioms. Both CDs have received critical praise from DOWNBEAT with 4 star reviews.

His most releases are solo piano recordings. Soliloquy is a stunning recording of Alan’s favorite standards recorded on his Hamburg Steinway concert grand piano. Just released in November of 2020 is Day Dream. Recorded when the world was put on pause by the pandemic, Day Dream offers more of Pasqua’s interpretations on his favorite and somewhat obscure standards.

Enjoy this performance by Alan Pasqua Trio playing The Turnaround. Alan Pasqua – piano, with Darek Oles – bass, and Conner Malloy – drums.

Learn more about Alan Pasqua by visiting his site.

ALAN PASQUA – ELLINGTONIA

71013 Alan Pasqua Ellingtonia Cover

The latest recording from Alan Pasqua is the Album Ellingtonia from Arkadia Records. It showcases Pasqua as an accomplished pianist who also shines as a composer. Pasqua puts together two groups of legendary artists, including NEA Jazz Masters Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, and Gary Bartz. It also features stellar performances from Michael and Randy Brecker, and Paul Motian.

Learn more about Ellingtonia. 

Happy Listening!

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