Ed Pastorini

An underground legend in New York, Ed Pastorini is a songwriter, composer, pianist and guitarist best known for his band 101 Crustaceans, which has been his vehicle since the 1980s, along with bassist/producer Oren Bloedow (Elysian Fields, Lounge Lizards).

He grew up in Baltimore playing classical music, jazz and rock, and after hearing Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, The Beatles White Album, King Crimson's Lizard and Lennie Tristano's The New Tristano decided to write songs allowing room for improvisation - or born from it. He also sought Lennie out and studied with him during the last two years of his life.

101 Crustaceans first record was the 6-song Songs of Resignation, produced by Giorgio Gomelsky (Yardbirds, Material) and released on Fang Records (and on cassette by Audiophile tapes). All subsequent releases were live recordings from New York's Knitting Factory label and Fang Records compilations, until another 6-song album - 2012's Train Bolt Roller, with Oren Bloedow, Indigo Street, Ben Perowsky - and J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus) contributing samples, Nadia Sirota violin and Claire de Brunner bassoon.

Over the years Ed has recorded or performed with Elysian Fields, Oren Bloedow, Greg Saunier, Beth Orton, Joan As Police Woman, Johnny Society, Najma Akhtar, Church of Betty, Graham Maby, M. Ward, Badly Drawn Boy, Katell Keineg, Bruce Springsteen and "otters" (sic). Ed is also in a trio with Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Indigo Street (Yoko Ono) called Aye Aye Rabbit.

Strange Lures is a collection of Pastorini songs performed on piano, originally suggested by producer Sunita Reddy and WNYC's John Schaefer. Of the record's 15 tracks, three were recorded live at Merkin Hall in New York City as part of John Schaefer's progressive WNYC radio program New Sounds (episode #3087). The rest were recorded by Henry Hirsch (Lenny Kravitz) at Waterfront Studio in Hudson, New York. The first video can be seen below.

Three sound collages were made from this album by Greg Saunier, Chris Butler and Carl Saff - which will be available digitally. Strange Lures is available on compact disc and cassette.

Salon.com wrote, "The stock listings phrase that when a particular band plays 'some of the best musicians in town take to the stage' is actually true in the case of Ed Pastorini's 101 Crustaceans, the "town" in this instance being New York City. And here's a line of glib hyperbole to follow it: The rest of them are in the audience."

Photo: Michelle Casillas