NEM #55: Don Preston, Mother of Keyboard Invention

Don PrestonDon has composed and played jazz since the ’50s, was a Frank Zappa sideman through his classic ’60s albums and beyond, and has since released 20+ albums, scored 20 films, and has performed with numerous artists including John Lennon, Lou Rawls, and Nat King Cole. He has also been called “the father of modern synthesis” for his work in electronic music.

We discuss “Winds of Change” (3rd movement, 2001, released on 2007’s Works), “Palmer Park” (1975, released on 1993’s Vile Foamy Ectoplasm), and “Analog Heaven #7” (1975, released on 2012’s Filters, Oscillators & Envelopes 1967–82). End song: “Piano Solo” from TriAngular Bent, an album credited to a band of that name feat. Don Preston, Jeff Boynton, and Philip Mangione (2016). Opening/closing music: “King Kong” from Uncle Meat by the Mothers of Invention (1969).

This conversation includes bonus conversations and songs! Get it by supporting the podcast via or through a podcast network membership.

Here’s the Mothers back in the day with Don, and here’s some more, weirder. Here ‘s Don in 2009 playing solo piano. Watch him solo on iPhone! Hear him tell his history at great length in this series!

Don keeps the music of Zappa alive. Here he is with the Grand Mothers of Invention. Here he is with just Bunk Gardner, and the full “Don & Bunk Show” group.

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