The E-Block Mastering the Game of Music
Luke Pascarella’s boyhood heroes all wore numbers on their backs. Then he picked up a guitar.
The present-day musician was born into a baseball family. He had followed in step with his older brothers, starting his athletic career on both the diamond and basketball court his freshman year at Schalmont High School. He first picked up a guitar when he was 9, but a real calling to the instrument only emerged once he became a teenager. That’s when a friend introduced him to John Mayer. He developed a passion for a blues style of play, so much so his parents gifted him the same style of Stratocaster.
“That was sort of when I made my departure from [the] sports world,” Pascarella said. “I had stopped playing baseball and basketball to devote all of my time to getting really into music… To change what I identified as, from being a baseball player to a musician, was a huge change in my life.”
Today, he’s visible as the guitarist for The E-Block, a burgeoning R&B group garnering a well-deserved reputation as extraordinary live performers within the Capital Region’s vibrant music scene.
The band fuses the soulful, acoustic resonance of singer-songwriter music with a contemporary R&B rhythm section that sends shivers down one’s spine. The band features Pascarella at guitar followed by virtuosic saxophonist James Soren, the keyboard wizard Devin Tetlak, the groovy bassist Daniel Folds, and the rhythmic maestro, Leroy “Rudy” Dalton.
The E-Block’s artistic tapestry is woven with a rich spectrum of influences. They’re students of the neo-soul artists of the late 90s, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo. Adding a flavor to the mix of DIY basement shows in which they’ll sometimes perform that can catch audiences by surprise.
“We’re all students of music as much as we are musicians,” Pascarella said, further describing a near-obsessive drive to consume the slightest minutia of his subject. “If I get into an artist, I need to know every single last detail about their discography. I just try to get on the same wave of what they were going for, what they were searching for. I want to understand what they were searching for so that when I’m making my own music, I have as much information as possible to try to tap into the same energy that they were tapping into.”
Pascarella and crew started September by re-releasing a “live” version of “Wake Up,” a track they had only dropped last year. Recorded last month at Greener Garden Records, Soren said it captures the vibe of a live performance, where they feel is the best listening experience.
The Staten Island native linked with Pascarella while the two attended University at Albany. They met through the school’s jazz band and often followed suit discussing music back in the dorm rooms. The friendship has continued on through the band venture now for five years. Disagreements, he said, continue to be a synergistic means to grow.
“We can disagree in all these ways that aren’t personal,” he said, “they’re all geared towards growth and it’s enjoyable.”
Soren also describes a different sort of ballplay while he and the band perform in front of a crowd. They’re to headline a Funk Night at Lark Hall on Saturday, Sept. 22. Fungkshui, an experiential groove quartet out of Asbury Park, New Jersey is scheduled to open at 8 p.m.
“I think when people come to see us play, they can feel the ball being passed around, you know, out to them and back to us,” Soren said. “I think that’s the aspect of our playing that our audience can feel. … It doesn’t really matter so much what people are walking in with in terms of their own influences or what they’re looking for when they hear music. I think that across the board, it’s just the fun of passing the ball around.”