Gajanan returns to Pitt-Bradford with band

Oct. 7 concert to feature avant-jazz/fusion

Gajanan and his band performing

The public will be entertained by Manu Gajanan and other avant-jazz/fusion musicians when Catstronauts touches down at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Studio Theater of Blaisdell Hall at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Sponsored by Pitt-Bradford Arts, the hour-long performance is free and open to the public.

Gajanan, a native of Bradford, and an alumnus of Pitt-Bradford and University of Pittsburgh, is the son of Pitt-Bradford professors: Dr. Shailendra and Rekha Gajanan. His older sister, Mahita, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus and is an associate editor for Time magazine.

He is currently in the final year of his master’s degree in music technology at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he lives.

Additionally, Gajanan is a sergeant with the Pennsylvania National Guard unit in Torrance and plays keyboards with the 28th Infantry Division (rock) Band.

“We play all sorts of stuff; we don’t just play rock; we (often) play country, funk and pop,” he said of the rock band.

As for Catstronauts, the band typically has a rotating line-up of musicians for each performance. The group plays a mixture of jazz fusion, house music and popular tunes, as well as compositions written by Gajanan. Instruments in the clowder of cats include, but are not limited to keyboards, saxophone, trumpet, drums, guitar and vocals.

Gajanan, who plays keyboards and piano, noted the band has performed gigs “off and on” primarily in the Pittsburgh area since December of 2021.

“A lot of the songs we will play (at Pitt-Bradford) will be from the debut album I released in April of 2021,” he said. The album, entitled Paradigm, can be found under Gajanan’s name on all streaming platforms. In addition, compact discs of the album will be sold at the Pitt-Bradford performance.

“We perform live renditions of (music on the album) – it’s been our main inspiration to develop that sound (mixing live jazz and electronic dance music),” he said.

The Oct. 7 lineup for Catstronauts features Jon Sampson of Bradford on drums; Jared Hill of Olean, N.Y. on electric bass; Tanner Davis of West Virginia on tenor saxophone/woodwinds; and Gajanan on electronic keyboards and acoustic grand piano.

On a personal note, Gajanan said in addition to his graduate studies and National Guard duties, he teaches piano to children ages 6 to 15 in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

“I think I see myself working in the field of music tech in a recording/studio engineering environment, as well as teaching on the side and playing gigs,” he said of plans after graduate school.

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