R.I.P. Austin Peralta
Sad news to hear that Austin Peralta has died. He was just 22. Peralta, son of skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta, was a prodigy. He lived inside the music he played; to call him gifted doesn't - quite - cut it. At 16 he'd released two albums, one of which features Ron Carter.
He worked with so many of the legends in jazz and fusion, jamming with Chick Corea and Allan Holdsworth.
Peralta wasn't just a jazz pianist - in his short life he was expanding the role of jazz piano. He had worked with Flying Lotus - on the recently released Until the Quiet Comes and in live performances. He had contributed to the soundtrack of his father's surfing documentary, Riding Giants. He had recorded with Erykah Badu and Cinematic Orchestra and he had created his own versions of standards from some of jazz music's true giants (Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus).
News of his passing has sent people to YouTube - to see recent performances, to hear fascinating collaborations, to hear innovative covers and of course to see the young prodigy in action.
His jazz playing was wonderful - and I remember being wowed by his trio album, Maiden Voyage and then finding out he was 16! It was staggering hearing the passion and talent.
Last year's Endless Planets showed the evolution of his music. And it really was a case of watch this space - of wondering what was going to come next. But in hearing of the death of Peralta the clip that's had me amazed at his talent and sad for the loss is this one here - live improvisations and spontaneous composition with Taylor McFerrin. It's the one clip that shows what piano lessons from the age of six can do when the passion for exploration is there. The groove inherent, the feel impeccable - the music flowing through Peralta and McFerrin.
There's not a lot of joy or hope that can be taken from hearing that a 22-year-old has died. But you have to hope - if that's the word - that his music will be discovered by a few new people. It doesn't bring anything back. But there was so much beauty in his playing. As well as great craft.
Such wonderful music flowed through him.
R.I.P Austin Peralta.
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