Gregory Allen Kurstin (born May 14, 1969) is an American songwriter, producer, performer, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist.
Early life[change | change source]
Greg Kurstin was born and raised in Los Angeles. His first music experience was from is grandma playing piano for him. That was when he was 5 years old. He eventually inherited her piano and began taking lessons. It was during these formative years that he developed an interest for jazz and blues. At age 11, he picked up a guitar and any other instrument he could touch. In his secondary school years, he devoted countless number of hours behind the piano doing jazz. However, he also looked for time to play with various local bands in the Los Angeles area. When he was 12 he performed in Dweezil Zappa’s band and co-wrote "Crunchy Water", which was the B-side to Los Angeles' KROQ’s staple "My Mother Is A Space Cadet". It was from these collaborative experiences that he was first introduced to new wave, punk and African music. Kurstin also developed an interest in recording at a really young age. He also began working with a 4-track recorder.
After secondary school, Greg moved to New York City to study with Charles Mingus's piano player Jaki Byard at The New School. Soon after, he played with jazz legends such as Bobby Hutcherson and George Coleman. Whilst in New York, Greg also spent much of his time playing and studying Brazilian music. As a result of his studies, he started to be a really competent player of the Berimbau. He played this instrument on sessions with Beck.