Keyboardists Reflect On Page McConnell's 50th Birthday

Jason Crosby
God Street Wine, Assembly of Dust

How were you first exposed to Page's playing/Phish's music?

I heard Page and Phish for the first time while spending a year at Kent School in 1990. Everyone around campus was playing the Lawn Boy record and talking about the band. At this point in my life I had only played and performed classical music, so the band was life changing for me.

What's been Page's influence on you?

I was influenced by Page's ability to navigate between Trey's specific parts written for him and the completely free moments. There are not a lot of keyboardists that can read notation well and also let go and play anything that's going on around them, and seeing Page do this was influential and inspiring.

What's your favorite keyboard part(s) to a Phish song?

I love Page's playing on "Maze" off of Rift. But there are many moments I could choose from.

Is there a technical aspect or particular skillset or use of a particular instrument of McConnell's playing that you particularly appreciate?

As long as I've been seeing Phish and Page, it's always been B3, Piano, Rhodes and vintage synths. Very little digital keyboards, if any. I dig that.

What separates or differentiates Page from other keyboardists in rock?

Tens of thousands of fans in the audience? Haha. Serious answer: What differentiates Page from other fellow keyboard players in rock is that he has this diverse musical background in which he can play all styles, while also being blessed to be with one of the most adventurous groups in which he can let his playing stretch out.

Can you share a Happy Birthday message to Page?

Happy Birthday Page! Thanks for being such a great influence on me and so many other musicians! Here's to your next 50 years being as great as the first.


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