Five Firsts: Jason Domnarski of JDT



NAME: Jason Domnarski
INSTRUMENT: Piano/Keyboards/Synthesizers/Toys

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Genesis’ “We Can’t Dance.” How I discovered that, I have no idea. At 10 years old, I don’t think I had any idea what prog rock was. But I do remember liking “Jesus He Knows Me.” Still an awesome song.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Paul Simon’s “Graceland” tour at Madison Square Garden. I still feel so lucky that I saw that concert. Paul had Ladysmith Black Mambazo on that tour, and the band was killing. Then Art Garfunkel came out at the end and sang a few tunes with Paul as a duo. It was a pretty amazing moment.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Well, I started playing piano on an old upright that my parents had in our house. I played on that for years, until it was obvious that the whole “piano thing” wasn’t a passing phase. My parents then splurged for a used baby grand from a music conservatory, and they’ve had that ever since. I owned several keyboards for gigging when I was younger, but the first instrument purchase I got really excited about was a ’73 Rhodes that I bought while in college. That started the addiction of gear-buying; now, several vintage keyboards, synthesizers and pedals later, I’m still looking for my next fix!

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Oh, man. I don’t know. I started playing classical piano when I was six and had so many recitals over the years that they all kind of blend into one. I started playing jazz in high school and formed a piano trio. One of the first tunes I learned was “C Jam Blues,” and I can remember playing the blues scale over that for hours. That tune and “Blue Bossa” were some of the first jazz songs I remember performing live.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … I was in several school jazz bands in high school and college, both larger ensembles and trios. The first band I joined that wasn’t my own group was Spielerfrau, a dark pop/rock band (a la Pulp, Tindersticks, the Auteurs). I was new to NYC and working at a jazz club in Manhattan when the sound guy, Aaron Nevezie, mentioned his band was looking for a keyboard player. The drummer in the band was Dave Mason, and he and Aaron are now the other members of JDT. We’ve been playing in different bands together for the past four years. The band was fronted by Michael Idov, who is now an editor at New York Magazine and promoting a new book. A few months after joining, the band went on a tour to Russia, playing Moscow and St. Petersburg. I thought, “I could get used to this!”

Keyboardist-composer (and Skidmore College grad) Jason Domnarski and JDT will fire it up at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Wednesday. Admission is $5. The band will also be making a tour stop at Red Square in Albany at 8pm on Thursday.

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