October 25, 1990|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||November 21, 2012
Los Angeles, California, United States
Austin Peralta was born on October 25, 1990 to filmmaker Joni Caldwell and Z-Boys skateboarder and film director Stacy Peralta. Peralta started playing piano at the age of five and quickly became a prodigious player. At age 10 whilst learning classical piano, he developed an interest in jazz when a friend gave him a Bill Evans CD. Peralta studied classical piano for five years at Pepperdine University and later with noted jazz pianist Alan Pasqua and saxophonist Buddy Collette. In 2003 at age 12, Peralta was awarded the Shelly Manne New Talent Award by the Los Angeles Jazz Society, which was presented to him by Quincy Jones. In addition to the piano, Peralta also played the upright bass, drums and saxophone. He was an honor student at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica.
From a young age Peralta made a name for himself in the Los Angeles music scene regularly performing with The Gerald Wilson Orchestra at such venues as the Jazz Bakery and the Blue Whale jazz club. At age 15, Peralta performed at the 2006 Tokyo Jazz Festival with his own group, The Hour Trio, and with jazz legends Chick Corea and Hank Jones.
In 2006, he released two albums on Eighty-Eight's, Maiden Voyage, featuring bassist Ron Carter, and Mantra which included renowned bassist Buster Williams. In 2007, he performed at the Java Jazz Festival.
In 2011 Peralta met Steven Ellison (a.k.a. Flying Lotus) through a mutual friend David Wexler (Dr. Strangeloop). Soon after, Peralta joined Ellison's Brainfeeder label and released his final album, Endless Planets. Ellison considered Peralta's addition to the label as a key turning point in the label's expansion of genres and movement towards jazz. Austin Peralta has said that he does not promote his first two albums because the producer did not allow him to express his artistic vision. Under the Brainfeeder record label, however, he was free to defy conventional genres and express spirituality through his music.
Peralta composed and performed the score for the remastered documentary feature What Happened to Kerouac? (2012) and appeared on the track "DMT Song" on Flying Lotus' album Until the Quiet Comes (2012). Before his death in 2012, Peralta was a touring member of jazz group The Cinematic Orchestra and was performing regularly with Allan Holdsworth and Virgil Donati.
Death and legacy
Peralta died on November 21, 2012, at the age of 22. The LA County Coroner's Report indicated the most likely cause of death was viral pneumonia, aggravated by a combination of alcohol and drugs. His memorial service was held on December 1 at Crossroads School in Santa Monica.
As news of his death spread, musicians such as Robert Glasper and Gilles Peterson paid tribute to Peralta. Flea called Peralta "a transcendent musician, the kind of kid that made the future of music look bright." The track 'A Message for Austin' from Thundercat's 2013 album Apocalypse also pays tribute to Peralta. On his 2014 album You’re Dead!, Flying Lotus dedicated the track “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep” to Peralta. Another group, experimental jazz band Kneebody, dedicated the last song on their album Anti-Hero (2017) to Austin Peralta.
The ensemble name Deathgasm is an inspiration from the Bardo Thodol (the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead) and the Gaspar Noé film Enter the Void. Peralta felt that his music had the power to evoke spiritual places similar to death, orgasm, love, or "whatever". So he decided to name his ensemble Deathgasm.
- Peralta - Leader
- Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Violin, viola
- Sam Gendel - Saxophone
- Ryan McGillicuddy - Bass
- Zach Harmon - Drums, tabla
- Earnest Blount - Electronics, laptop
- Ben Olsen - video/photography
The Peralta/Strangeloop Project
Peralta and Strangeloop (another Brainfeeder artist) met at a coffee shop when Strangeloop ranted to him about the apocalypse. Peralta found him like-minded and ended up connecting, becoming best friends. Strangeloop's music is more electronic and Peralta wanted to introduce that world into his acoustic style of music. Peralta felt that something was missing in his Endless Planet's project that was in the works and decided to tie Strangeloop's work into his. They performed live together at the Roy O. Disney Theatre on July 7, 2010 and numerous other occasions.
- Maiden Voyage (Eighty-Eight's) (2005)
- Mantra (Eighty-Eight's) (2006)
- Endless Planets (Brainfeeder) (2011)
- Views of Saturn Vol. 2 (2012)
with The Hour Trio
- Inta' Out (2005)
- Grey Reverend - 'A Hero's Lie' (2013)
- Octavious Womack – 'Superstar' (2012)
- Flying Lotus - 'DMT'
- Teebs - Collections 01 (2011)
- Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011)
- Strangeloop - "Fields" (2011)
- Erykah Badu - "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh" (2010)
- Shafiq Husayn - "En' A-Free-Ka" (2009)
- Time Ries - "Stones World: The Rolling Stones Project II" (2007)
- Adam Rudolph & Go: Organic Orchestra - "Thought Forms" (2006)
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- "Tokyo Jazz 2006 – Performing Artists". Tokyo Jazz Festival 2006. 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Prodigy, 13, to perform at KCLU anniversary event". The Acorn. 26 August 2004. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
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- Laura Snapes (22 November 2012). "R.I.P. Brainfeeder Affiliate and Pianist, Austin Peralta". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
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