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Jaime Legato is one of the more diverse musicians in popular music. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of Giant Jerk, one of the leaders of the American-based improvisational folk movement of the mid-1990s.
Legato was born in Toledo, Ohio, on January 24, 1971. He and his younger brother, Shirc (b. 1972), were classically trained in piano and violin respectively. They formed many rock bands together in their early years, usually with Shirc playing guitar and Jaime playing bass.
After Shirc graduated high school in 1991, the brothers moved to Dayton, Ohio, where they met up with singer, Thaddeus Floodgate (b. 1970), another Toledo transplant. Along with percussionist DJ Kwapich (b. 1972), they formed Kilgore Trout, named after the character in Kurt Vonnegut novels. Kilgore Trout had modest success in the Midwest, perhaps capitalizing on the national success of more mature local acts like Guided by Voices, The Breeders and Brainiac. The band effectively dissolved in 1994, with Jaime and Shirc moving to Orlando, Florida and Thaddeus moving to Boulder, Colorado.
Despite their distance, they continued to share ideas through home recordings and occasional visits to each other. Jaime and Shirc had formed Blee Mind Thrice, a complex, arrangement-heavy power trio with percussionist Stue Trory (b. 1972), while Thaddeus started writing songs with writer/poet Jan Rigket (b. 1972). The thousands of hours of recordings made during the period of 1994-2007 comprised the bulk of what would eventually become Giant Jerk. By the end of 1998, Shirc, Thaddeus and Jan had moved back to the Midwest to start families while Jaime and Stue remained in Florida and formed the drum and bass combo, The Ray Yeller Zero. The Giant Jerk tapes literally sat in a closet at Jaime's mother's house for several years.
Jaime moved to Los Angeles in 2001, where he met publisher G. Albert Earl (b. 1971), who took an unusual interest in the Giant Jerk tapes. Earl marvelled at Rigket's lyrical content and was impressed with the variety of Legato's recordings, so much so that he started giving Jaime a monthly stipend to help publish the Giant Jerk material under Earl's label, Dermusik, as well as any future material. With his finances somewhat secure, Jaime relocated to Detroit, Michigan to be closer to Shirc and the other Giant Jerks. Little by little, Giant Jerk recordings have made their way around the internet and to people in the independent music community, but there have never been plans for individual releases. Rather, in 2010, Earl plans to release their entire collection of recordings at once in a 12 disc box set appropriately titled, Commercial Suicide.
These days, Jaime Legato is involved with the musical act Sleepybird, videographers Der Brudders Der and dance ensemble Hello Hello.
- Sleepybird - No Flood (2004 - Dermusik)
- Sleepybird - All Things Are Mine (2006 - Dermusik)
- Sleepybird - The Sadness Will Last Forever (2008 - Dermusik)
- Dayton After Dark II (2004 - In-flight)