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After only two years beginning his official career as a "drummer" in 1974, Dan Pinto inadvertently advanced on to learning how to play keyboards. Having been lucky enough to have easy access to an electronic organ and amplifier at the time, Dan went between practicing two instruments instead of only one. Moving forward as multi-instrumentalist, Dan Pinto forged a career in music composing styles of "Progressive Jazz-rock Fusion", New Age and Film Score & Soundtrack.

     ROOTS: Dan Pinto's older brother, Tony was a keyboard player in the local Rock music scene from 1967 to 1969. This is from where Dan gained access to his very first electronic keyboard and amplifier for learning. The Acetone “Top3 Phenix” organ and VOX “Viscount” amp would suffice for Dan until 1977 when he bought his very first keyboard, the Moog "Model D Minimoog". But luckily, Dan was able to borrow acoustic pianos between the years of 1976-1979 in order to gain a more proper feel for the instrument that became his weapon of choice for composing later on.

     STYLE: Already having a "Rock & Roll" background as a drummer, Dan Pinto's style for playing the keyboards changed his direction quite dramatically in this area. It was his heightened awareness of “Keyboard Rock” bands that began to drive his learning curve a bit tighter. His growing love for this type of music forced him to push his abilities as both a keyboardist and a drummer to a much higher standard and so he soon found himself playing in bands with members that were much older than he was. One of Dan's first influences in music was Keith Emerson, famed keyboardist from the Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Emerson's use of orchestra and traditional instruments introduced Dan Pinto's style to "Classical" and "Jazz" music mixing that with Rock. Other players from Dan's earliest influences would of course be Rick Wakeman from the band Yes. But one of Dan's hobby enjoyments in the mid to late 1970s was visiting obscure record stores to find unusual and rare albums by bands and keyboardists that would even remotely reveal a lineup similar in nature. So if you were to thumb through Dan Pinto's record collection dating from this time, you'll find albums by artists such as Vangelis; Refugee; Esperanto; PFM; Return To Forever; Dick Hyman; Triumvirat; Larry Fast; Focus; Jan Hammer; Gong; Gentle Giant; Walter Carlos; Van Der Graaf Generation; Tomita; Jan Akkerman; Kraftwerk; UK; Nectar; Tangerine Dream; Strawbs and Renaissance. These are all artists that contributed to Dan's style of playing during his earliest days at the keyboards. But as Dan Pinto's taste for music advanced, so too did his ear for listening. The 1980s would add on influences by bands like the Dixie Dregs; Michel Camilo; Kazumi Watanabe and Jean Luc Ponte. The 90s added Pat Methany; Steps Ahead; Lyle Mays; Spyro Gyra; the Rippingtons and Bela Fleck. But then something happened... Given Dan Pinto's interest in making films at a very young age before he became involved with music, later as a composer he began listening much more closely to the Soundtracks from these films. This was born out of a combination of an interest in the sounds of an orchestra and the limitless nature of Film Score music. A whole new World of music was now coming into focus and one that went back to cover all the years that Dan had been involved in music since the 1970s. Dan Pinto now found himself listening to artists such as John Williams; Jerry Goldsmith; Danny Elfman; John Carpenter & James Horner just to mention a few. This brings us up to date with Dan Pinto's influences in style. In a nutshell, Progressive Jazz-rock Fusion crossed with Film Score & Soundtrack music. Dan has no better demonstration of these styles all combined then on his 2008 release, "Anomalies."

     STAGE & STUDIO PERFORMANCE:  Entering himself into a performance
contest in 1977, Dan Pinto broke the ice with his very first live appearance as a keyboardist at the age of 16 in front of a packed auditorium. He won the competition for “Best Solo Instrumental” for his rendition of “America” by Leonard Bernstein on Hammond Organ & Moog synthesizer. He'd only been playing keyboards for 2 years! With an already established performing career in local Rock Bands as a drummer, Dan's increasing talent at the keyboards was becoming very obvious to others around him. But not wanting to give up playing the drums, he started playing in bands as a drummer/keyboardist. He'd have his drums set up with a Moog synthesizer stationed behind him.

     But in 1980, there was an opportunity to be the main keyboard player in the original band Juice. Simultaneously there was room for experimentation with this band that would allow Dan to also play drums with a full kit on stage. Dan worked out arrangements with this band playing originals and a few interesting cover tracks, one of which included a rendition of "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter that allowed him to split his role playing both keyboards for the synth effects and sax/keyboard solos as well as Timbales to cover the double drum solo. Dan felt right at home having his hands full, carrying a complete drum & percussion outfit as well as a large keyboard rig during live gigs. The band's stage presence was fairly intimidating for members of their age consisting of 2 complete drum kits & percussion, 2 keyboard rigs(Dan's and the Lead Guitarists’) and bass, acoustic and electric guitars. Juice showed great promise in 1981 when they opened for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in Dover, New Jersey, a show that was broadcast live over WDHA radio. Unfortunately the band would not fully materialize disbanding only two years after its inception.

     This didn't stop Dan from continuing along these lines with other bands of similar makeup. But he also kept busy with popular acts more commercial in nature during the 1980s. Simultaneously he worked in more than one band at a time and on some occasions even on the same night! Constantly performing between the popular New York City and New Jersey club scenes, Dan Pinto's plate was full. A performance with the Doug Wain band at the RITZ in New York City yielded a live CD release in 1988. He also shared the stage briefly with members of MCA recording artist Trixter. Taking into consideration the increasing interest in building his private recording studio during this time, you can guess that Dan was fairly busy. But as the 1980s moved along with Dan's continued interest in playing instrumental progressive music, the Rock scene was becoming difficult with other more popular music moving in. So Dan needed to rethink his approach if he wanted to continue doing what he loved most.

     Reducing his live shows to solo performances with the start of the 1990s, Dan Pinto would program backup music with sequencers and play the lead parts to his original songs. But with his writing skills now becoming a focal point live as a solo artist, he began carrying that over to his production studio to create recordings. Continuing a busy schedule of advancing the technology of his studio and writing new music at a record pace, Dan Pinto’s compositional repertoire began to increase in size. So now with all this extra music lying around, he began to pitch his compositions to video production houses turning Dan's focus from live performance to studio composing.

     Through the second half of the 1980s and beyond, Dan Pinto inadvertently and as luck would have it out of the need for convenience and in order to keep studio expenses down, became a studio producer and recording engineer himself. The construction of his own recording studio and many years invested in learning its engineering processes has enabled him to have complete control over his finished product. Composing in his studio became a priority after being given the opportunity to write for national television shows starting in 1991.

     Aside from working in his own recording studio, Dan still finds the time to work on projects for others staying active on many levels. For example in recent past he worked with long time famed Jazz musician/songwriter Horace Ott, composer of "Don't let me be misunderstood" taking part in a presentation for the New Jersey Movie Makers Network on scoring music for movies at the "MEMFEST FILM FESTIVAL" in New Jersey. And in 2001 Dan Pinto recorded drums with Dixie Dregs’ bassist Dave LaRue for the band 3 Point Play which resulted in a CD release titled “Double OT".”

     COMPOSING CREDITS: While composing music came as early as 1976, Dan Pinto didn't get a taste of success until his material was first performed live in 1981. Playing keyboards with the original band Juice at an opening for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Dan Pinto would debut two tracks with this band. “Labyrinth” & “Pandora's Box” would never be officially released however until his 2008 album, "Anomalies." While Dan Pinto has written lyrical material, his music is generally geared more towards instrumental genres. It is this style of music that has brought him the most success beginning in the late 1980s when it began receiving placement on projects for local cable television and industrial film. Seeing this success brought about his joining BMI as he began gearing his writing skills more in the direction of film and video. He was also and still is actively involved in composing music for independent films. And with Dan's interest and experience in recreating an orchestral sound combined with his intrigue into how films were actually made stemming from his childhood, this only made good sense.

     By 1990 Dan Pinto wrote music included on projects for companies such as AT & T; BMW; RCA and CNN. National success finally came in 1991 with the opportunity to write music consistently for Robin Leach's television shows, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and “Runaway with the Rich & Famous." His music was also used for the national television release titled “World's Best 1992.” As a result of all this for the next four years, his music enjoyed a good deal of success. These shows later went on into syndication. As 1993 came to a close, Dan Pinto released 3 solo albums within two years under the "Eclectic Sound" label. Documentation for all his releases can be found on the Discography Page.

     In 1995, Dan Pinto began writing a screenplay for a movie idea that he had. His single reason for doing this was to compose a full length film score. Having gone in and upgraded his studio with video editing and recording equipment, he dedicated a total of 5 years to this project, producing and directing the over 100 participants involved. In the final year, he released the independent film's music score and soundtrack on CD. Although Die for a Life as a movie was considered by Dan to be more of an incidental experimental project, Dan Pinto’s musical accomplishment for this project stands as an indelible mark to prove that his music is very capable of carrying a feature film.

    "I'm not trying to be a film producer, that's not the goal I set for myself here at all. Of course the knowledge I gained by doing this production certainly didn't hurt. But this experience is vital in understanding what film producers look for when writing a soundtrack. And as a composer, that's very important to me."

     With the new Millennium came the release of a new album titled “Visions” shortly followed by a Christmas album. Dan Pinto received accolades in 2006 for "Best Instrumental Song of the Year" with his nomination in the JPF Music Awards. His title "The Haunting" from his "Ivory Towers" album recognized his accomplishments as a New Age styled composer. His music was chosen through a process that selected less than one half of one percent during a judging term that took 13 months! In all, over 300,000 entries were reviewed from all around the World. 2008 finds Dan Pinto back in the studio with a release that has come to best define him as a composer. Pulling from his roots of Progressive Jazz-rock Fusion, his 1990s interests of Modern Jazz and combining that with film score music using full orchestral arrangements, Dan Pinto has seemingly set the bar to the next level with "Anomalies." As can be refrenced from the "Reviews & Interviews" page of this site, critics have been all consistently very kind with Dan Pinto's "Anomalies" release.

     EQUIPMENT: Dan Pinto’s use of equipment has covered many areas over the years in
several arenas. He started with the most basic electronic organ back in the mid 1970s called a Phenix by Acetone along with a fairly powerful VOX "Viscount" amplifier. These were his first learning tools. Dan loves the sound of a good Yamaha acoustic piano. And who can't resist the sound of a nice Steinway Grand, but in the early days Dan had little choice only to borrow between pianos of this type to get by. He's owned a Yamaha "CP-30" and also used an acoustic-electric "CP-80." Dan Pinto tried gigging with the "CP-80" but found it near impossible to carry as the string section alone weighed well over 100 pounds. He went back to Roland with the use of an "RD-1000" for live shows around 1986.

     Dan Pinto first got involved with Moog synthesizers in 1977 and since then went through owning several including an "Opus", "Minimoog" and a very basic but now fairly rare synth called a "Satellite." He also performed live using a Moog "Ribbon Controller" and "Drum Synthesizers."

     He started off owning amplifier equipment by Acoustic for live performance but later replaced that with the use of Crown in the studio. Dan built his own cabinets in the studio using EV speakers but for live performance in his early days was also resorting to Acoustic to match the power setup.

     The 1980s brought about the use of a whole host of keyboards. Dan owned Crumar's "T-1" organ but later replaced that with Korg's "CX-3." The first sampling synths Dan used were by Roland. But later he pushed those out to make room for Korg as he was using a "DSS-1" and its offspring module, the "DSM-1." Oberheim's "Matrix" series was also in the studio for a short time but Dan found them to be too complicated to get around in.

     The 1990s introduced Dan with the need to use sequencing equipment for live solo performances and so Roland was the choice for that with their "MMT" & "HD" series units. He used these to trigger the Korgs which also included a "Midi" retrofitted "Polysix." Today Dan confesses that Kurzweil keyboards are the best he's used to date and so that is what he's been actively using in the studio. If Dan were ever to decide to go back to playing live gigs, a whole new rig would be in order but for studio use, he finds them sufficient.

    At Pinto Studios, studio recording equipment has seen a change between the 1980s and 1990s from analog reel to reel over to digital tape and PC sequencing but what remained consistent was Dan's use of Teac. Of course today it's all done with computers and the future for Pinto Studios holds an addition of very advanced video capability coming soon.

    For more of an in depth look at Dan Pinto’s equipment use on drums and percussion, visit the Drumming Page.

     THE FUTURE: With the advancement of computers, Dan Pinto’s use of that technology will likely follow. Video will play an important role of allowing him to demonstrate more of his own solo work as well as work more with others. Down the road additional music is being planned with more solo releases especially in collaboration with other musicians. To keep up on Dan Pinto’s activities, feel free to visit this website's Current Events Page.

For more on Dan Pinto and his music, visit the "Home Page."


  


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