Maxfield Gast
Gig Seeker Pro

Maxfield Gast

Band Jazz Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


PuzzleBox, TBA 2010
Maxfield Gast, Trio Innovations, TBA 2010
Maxfield Gast, Eat Your Beats, Militia Hill 2009
Wu Li, Self Titled EP 2008
The A-Sides, Silver Storms, Vagrant Records 2007
Canadian Invasion, Self Titled EP 2007
Wu Li, Live in New York 2007
Bebek, Open Eyes, Bebek Music 2006
Mike Boone, Yeah I Said It..., Dreambox Media 2005
Dirk Quinn Band, 2005
Time Capsule 2000, Blacklight Records
Public Service, Raw 2k, Rude Records 1998


Feeling a bit camera shy


If Maxfield Gast means the title of his debut CD literally, then he’s certainly crafted a meal
that goes down easy. Eat Your Beats is a ten-course buffet bursting with flavor, lacing the
familiar comfort food of infectious grooves and bright melodies with the exotic spice of
layered sounds and unexpected effects.
A blend of instrumental hip-hop, seductive funk, and playful drum & bass, Eat Your Beats
casts a winking eye back at ‘90s electronica while refracting through a decidedly modern
lens. On the CD cover, snaking tendrils emerge from Gast’s sax, eventually taking on a
variety of brilliant hues and bursting with images culled from his creative environment.
It would be hard to find a better description for the music contained within, which seems
to erupt in flowing currents of vibrant color.
“I realize this disc is coming from all sorts of places,” Gast says, “as with any work that
an artist creates. There’s so much going on inside our brains.”
The one thing the cover may misrepresent is Gast himself; pictured small, blowing those
multi-toned streams from his alto, he shrugs off any indication of the many facets he
displays on the disc itself. A gifted composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gast wrote all ten
tunes (one in collaboration with bassist Tyler Lynch and keyboardist Adam Platt), and
played most of the music himself, the last four tracks as a virtual one-man band.
A native Philadelphian, Gast was raised in a family of visual artists, a background which
comes through in the evocative titles and illustrative tunes on this CD, each of which
seems to unfurl its own story. There’s the frequency-wave howls and phantom sounds
received by the acid-funky “Ham Radio”; the urgent psychedelic spy-movie vibe of
“McWow” (actually named after an ex-roommate’s cat); the laid-back, summer day in the
park bliss of “DigiKong”; and the collage of impressions from a Brooklyn neighborhood
that comprises “Yellow School Bus.”
Gast first picked up a saxophone at ten years old, after his older sister brought home a
French horn. Though his mind was set on the sax, Gast didn’t follow its obvious path into
jazz until one of his father’s creative partners passed on a tape of John Coltrane’s album
Settin’ the Pace. “It blew my mind to the point that even though I couldn’t read music that
well yet and I certainly couldn’t write it, I transcribed a Coltrane ballad at eleven years
old,” Gast recalls. “I didn’t even know what ‘transcribe’meant. I just wrote the whole notes
and then drew squiggles indicating the direction of the music.”

Gast’s newfound obsession with jazz led him to join his middle school jazz band, where
he got to play his first solo, and then to Philly’s renowned Settlement Music School at 13,
where he met the generation of up-and-comers that included bassist Christian McBride,
saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, and neo-soul singer Bilal. “I was definitely the weakest link,”
he laughs, “but that taught me a lot.”
Through Settlement, Gast was given the opportunity to play Carnegie Hall with a youth
jazz band, and also to share the stage with legends like Grover Washington Jr., Betty
Carter, and Kenny Barron.
But after nine intense years of everything music, including a year at the University of the
Arts, Gast needed a break. He put his horn aside for another passion: skateboarding.
That brief hiatus confirmed his true calling. He rededicated himself to music, sitting in
regularly at jam sessions at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus in Philadelphia, which he refers to as his
“real college.” After a stint in the drum & bass group Saigon Slimm, he decided to go back
to school, enrolling at Temple University in 2005. He graduated in spring of 2009.
Despite his immersion in jazz, Gast says that Eat Your Beats represents an equally
important aspect of his musical personality. “If you didn’t know me and you listened to this
album, you’d have no idea I was a jazz saxophonist,” he admits. “That’s not what this is.
But it’s definitely my style.”
A jazz album is also in the works, but Gast is happy to celebrate his eclectic influences
with projects like this one and in the New York-based funk-jazz bandWu Li, some of whom
are instrumentalists on Eat Your Beats. They supplement Gast’s own wide-ranging talents,
which go beyond his saxophone to trumpet, piano, and the soprano-like Electronic Wind
Instrument (EWI), which offers a seven-octave range unavailable on the sax.
Four of the tracks on Eat Your Beats were recorded in as many days in a sudden rush
of creativity springing between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This spontaneity, even on
tracks as multi-layered as these, is Gast’s preferred mode of operation. “It all happens
really fast,” he says. “I guess that’s one thing I’ve learned about myself – while it’s flowing
I should just get it out and move on. I feel like if I don’t jump on it and pump it out
immediately, it’s going to get half done and then sit there forever.”
Which happens to