At 15, Austin Peralta was recording with Ron Carter; at 22 he was dead—leaving behind almost no trace of his greatness. I look back on my dealings with this ill-fated artist.
I only ran across the music of young Austin and - wow - probably the greatest musical talent between Chick Corea and Jacob Collier. To imagine how far he came musically only to pass away at the age of 22. I can only imagine the heights he might have reached. He had the unique combination of virtuoso technical skills with an incredible musical understanding.
Thank you, Ted - for this beautiful reflection on Austin’s amazing but brief time on earth. I spent a lot of time - touring with him in his final years and he was certainly beyond special, regardless of his artistic gifts. He was like a little brother and I miss him everyday.
LD Brown (Grey Reverend)
p.s Jondy forever!!
I saw him playing in São Paulo in September 2012 and it was one of the most insane concerts I've ever seen. He made me start liking jazz. <3
I've learned some interesting things about Austin Peralta since publishing this article. One of the most surprising is his appearance in a documentary on philosopher Martin Heidegger. Check out the linked video at the 38 minute mark— for some hot piano playing and words of wisdom. https://philosophydebate.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/documentary-being-in-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR3RkXm60W1Yf0lMzPhO79d-NU4D_1v5oYFiQPlzeKWm-UckEzEG2BwxQ7s
I went to New School at the same time as Austin, but unfortunately I have no interesting stories to share - I only ran into him occasionally, maybe bumped into him in the hallway between practice rooms and never heard him play (otherwise I would have remembered!). What I do remember is the sense of shock and grief from a few of my classmates who knew Austin after the tragic news. Everyone who knew him knew he was an incredible talent and people said he was a great kid as well.
Lovely piece, thanks.
Wondering if you've heard the absolutely haunting track 'Austin' by Marcin Wasilewski. There's the studio version, and an even better one on the Trio Live album.
On the topic of child prodigies, I know you did say 'jazz child prodigies', but have you checked out any of the many recordings of a young U Srinivas? He had soul and depth and poetry in his playing at a ridiculously young age.
Great Piece, thanks!
That was superb. And moving and sad.
What a terrific piece of writing. Bravo.
As a fan of African music, could you please give me some examples (artists and albums) of Afro-futurist music? Thx