Canonic artists really stole the show in the Paste Studio last month. That’s not to say we didn’t welcome and enjoy a number of smaller, up-and-coming bands like Worriers, Izzy Bisu and Elliot Moss, who offered their takes on punk, soul and melodic electronica, respectively. Still, we were lucky enough to welcome some of the most influential musicians in the history of jazz, blues, prog rock and more into our Manhattan studio this past Aug., and those sessions ended up among our collective favorites. Check out the five best Paste Studio Sessions from Aug. 2017 below.
Incredibly, Tajmo marks the first recorded collaboration between Keb Mo and Taj Mahal. Asked how they had managed to avoid an alliance to this point, Taj noted that both of them are, well, busy. The duo performed three tracks from the new album which, taken together, span the history of the blues: “Diving Duck Blues,” a traditional made famous by Sleepy John Estes; “Life Is Beautiful,” a new composition; and the reggae-infused “Corrina,” from Taj Mahal’s second record, 1968’s The Natch’l Blues. —Matthew Oshinsky
Paste took the subway one stop south on a Monday in August to meet up with J. Roddy Walston and his band at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village. In storied Studio A, we recorded the band playing three songs from their excellent new record, Destroyers of the Soft Life. —Matthew Oshinsky
It’s a well-known struggle for bands lauded for their live shows to distinguish themselves on tape. For Gogol Bordello, the Gypsy punk/Latin rock/folk fusion band who has haunted the Lower East Side since before the Lower East Side got cool in the early-aughts, their raucous, amped-up performances sold me before I ever thoughtfully listened to their recorded music. That’s why, when a five-piece version of the band came to the Studio to perform (relatively) stripped down versions of songs from new LP Seekers and Finders and a bonus classic, we were simultaneously rapt and bouncing in our seats. —Hilary Saunders
Guitarist-composer and sonic innovator Bill Frisell paid a nearly 45-minute-long visit to Paste Studios last month with his bass-playing partner, Thomas Morgan. Together the two brilliant instrumentalists performed tunes from their new ECM recording, Small Town, showing an uncommon empathy and a conversational chemistry on the title track, as well as Morgan’s beautiful “Pearl,” an intimate reading of John Barry’s James Bond theme “Goldfinger,” and a highly interactive rendition of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy.” If you like what you hear from these jazz masters and are based in New York, Frisell and Morgan will be performing in Buffalo on Dec. 2 as part of the Albright-Knox Art of Jazz Series, and on Dec. 7-8 at the Jazz Standard in New York City. The rest of the tour dates can be found here. —Bill Milkowski
We were thrilled to have two rock legends—Stewart Copeland of the Police and Adrian Belew of King Crimson—in our studio to introduce songs from their collaborative self-titled album. In fact, Copeland and Belew are only one half of Gizmodrome—bassist Mark King (of Level 42) and keyboardist Vittorio Cosma (PFM) weren’t in New York for this session, so Copeland played guitar rather than his usual drums. Plus, the duo-version offered a nifty take on The Police’s “Bombs Away.” Gizmodrome self-titled debut is duo out Sept. 15. —Matthew Oshinsky