Born: October 26, 1978 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Aaron was born October 26, 1978 in Decatur, Illinois. His mother and father both encouraged him to play music at an early age, and when he was 5 years old, he began taking piano lessons with Joanne Holmes at Macon Music. Although his grandmother and grandfather both taught at Macon Music and the Decatur Music Center for over 15 years, Aaron did not take to piano with much enthusiasm and at the age of 10, he switched from piano to alto saxophone with dreams of playing in a pep band and/or with Billy Joel. His first saxophone teacher was Mr. Ken Stillwell, who along with Aaron’s grandfather, played for many years in the Decatur Municipal Band (a group that Aaron would later play in as well). Aaron began studying with other local saxophonists in junior high and high school, including Perry Rask, who taught (and still does) at Millikin University. While in high school, Aaron would get to play with the locally celebrated Macarthur High School jazz band the would get to play the Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, as well as touring Japan playing at the MUSE in Tokorozawa, Japan.
In 1996, Aaron moved to Chicago, Illinois to attend DePaul University and to study with Mark Colby and Susan Cook. It was in Chicago, where he was immersed in the music and culture of the city, that Aaron became focused on practicing and refining his playing. While at DePaul he played a few gigs around the city with various groups that included Charles Cameron and the Sunshine Festival, World Class Noise, and the Michael Lerich Orchestra. While playing in the DePaul University Big Band, he got to record a live CD with trumpeter Tom Harrell, perform on a Trans-Atlantic jazz cruise with drummer Louis Bellson, as well as playing with a host of jazz greats including Dick Oatts and Joe Lovano! During this time, he spent his summers working on various cruise ships through Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines. In 2000, Aaron moved to Miami, Florida to attend graduate school at the University of Miami, where he recorded a commissioned work (Three Romances) by Maria Schneider with the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, as well as playing gigs in and around the greater Miami area.
In 2002 Aaron moved to New York and has since established himself as a much in demand musician in the thriving New York music scene having performed and/or recorded with many of New York’s finest musicians and bands. Along with his work as a sideman, he has also recorded two CDs of his own for the Fresh Sound/New Talent record label based out of Barcelona, Spain. His first CD, Into the Light (featuring saxophone guru Rich Perry) received many critical accolades and was heralded by the New Yorker magazine as being one of the ten best jazz recordings of 2006 alongside such artists such as Ornette Coleman, Joe Lovano, and Paul Motian. His playing has been described by Jazz Times as “generat[ing] thoughtful dialogs, crunchy little grooves, and moments of great emotive power”. He has toured Europe, Japan, and much of the United States playing jazz festivals, Broadway productions, and other various types of shows. In September 2008, his second CD, Blood and Thunder was released again through Fresh Sound/New Talent featuring both well renowned saxophonist Chris Cheek (Charlie Haden, Bill Frisell) and guitarist Ben Monder (Maria Schneider, Paul Motian).