Paleo Nath plays fiddle/violin for the band Root River Jam. He is also working on a jazz record with trumpet player and singer Kelly Mason. He has a degree in music business from the Berklee College of Music and teaches piano and violin at Schmitt Music in Rochester.
1. What is the origin of your name?
Paleo Nath is my stage name, and it is taken from the Latin and scientific name for a type of flightless bird like ostriches and emus – Palaeognathae. It means “ancient jaws.”
2. What makes you stand out as a musician?
I have performed theater my whole life, so I often wear a pigeon mask as a way to be playful. It freaks people out a little bit.
3. Strangest gig or performance?
I played at a baby shower with the pigeon mask on. It went over well because the person who was having the baby shower was into the art scene. She told me to give her something weird.
4. Most listened to song in the last week?
Chick Corea’s “500 Miles High.” I saw him for the first time live at the Dakota club, so I am all about Chick Corea right now.
5. What do you drink during a show?
Jack Daniels, neat.
6. Favorite local band or artist?
Kelly Mason. I have heard her music before, and I finally get a chance to work with her.
7. If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
The Duke Ellington Orchestra. It would give me the chance to meet Duke Ellington.
8. Top three artists at the moment?
Jonah Parzen-Johnson. He is a baritone saxophone player who plays meditative drone music. He can play for over five minutes straight using circular breathing.
Barry Harris. He is a jazz pianist – one of the jazz greats that is still alive. I am currently studying some of his songs and his playing.
Chick Corea. When I saw him in concert, it was like seeing someone I have known my whole life. I have listened to his music for so many years, I feel like I know him even though I don’t know him.
9. One book you think everyone should read?
How Music Works by David Byrne. I think it is really relevant to what Rochester is going through right now. He talks about what is necessary to build a music scene: cheap rent, cheap beer, and a place where people can listen without having to focus on the music. We have a growing music scene here, and we have professional musicians and artists that are building roots here, but we still have work to do to support it.
10. Best show you’ve ever seen?
The Minnesota Orchestra. I saw the orchestra perform when I was a kid, and I was 100% focused on watching the violinist. It made me realize what I wanted to do.
11. If you had to outlaw one song from ever being played again, which would it be and why?
There are definitely songs that I despise, but I wouldn’t want to outlaw them. If one person loves playing a song, and one other person loves hearing it, the song deserves to live.
12. What motivates you to keep playing music/keep performing?
I love music – to perform it, write it, teach it – it is my passion.
You can hear Paleo Nath and Root River Jam on Wednesday, August 17 at Wildwood Sports Grill; Friday, August 19 and Saturday, August 20 at Chester’s; Wednesday, August 24 at Pescara; and Saturday, August 27 at the Half Barrel.
Kim Zabel is a Plainview freelance writer and photographer. Ten measures is a weekly column spotlighting a local musician. Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.