Born: April 4, 1966 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Toronto native, David Aaron, began his studies with his eyes keenly focused on getting his college diploma in Insurance, but soon realized that he was spending all of his time hanging out in the music department (and in the pub) instead of studying his rate tables, so he decided that he needed to give up on his dreams of becoming a successful underwriter and bought a tenor saxophone. He began his reckless journey by studying with Larry Bodner at The Venture School Of Music in Toronto, and just as he was beginning to misunderstand everything that Larry was trying to teach him, he was headhunted by BMG Records, based solely on his knowledge of obscure Canadian music, and set off to New York City.
Within his first two weeks in NY, he began bothering Roy Nathanson (of The Jazz Passengers & The Lounge Lizards), who eventually submitted and became his mentor in both saxophone and composition, and taught him how to play and write in such an odd and uncomfortable way, that would guarantee that he remain in absolute obscurity. He also studied at the Jazzmobile in Harlem and SOJ Workshop at The Collective (with pianist, Fernando Hernandez- Moros), as well as privately with saxophonist Charles Davis (Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Sun Ra), who once said to him, confusedly, “I just don’t understand how your mind works”, as well as with Bob Mover (Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Anita O’Day), who once remarked of one his recordings, “This is the worst saxophone playing I’ve ever heard in my entire life”.
David Aaron has always said, “You only live once, why drag it out”, so in that spirit, he has spent his life collaborating with artists and musicians such as Catherine Tyrrell (NY Riverside Church Choir soloist), Bob Wiseman (Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies), Hugo Dwyer (Elvis Costello, David Byrne), Chris Ferris (choreographer/dancer), Catherine Sikora (Clockwork Mercury, Elliot Sharp), Don Palmer (Lee Konitz, Lennie Tristano), Richard Caliban (artistic director, “Cucaracha Theatre”), Bill Ware (Vibes, Steely Dan), Kitty Brazelton (Dadadah, Hildegurls), Kari Swenson Riely (filmmaker, actress), Sean Cullen (comedian) and Jo Flores Chase (theater & film actress/director).
David also stumbles along as a saxophonist, composer, arranger, producer, and has scored music for a number of short films and live theater pieces, including works in the Fringe Theatre Festival. He has regularly worked as a freelance saxophonist, including projects such as Dee Pop's Private World (punk/blues), Kaleta’s Zozo Afrobeat, super-rockin’ ska group, Bigger Thomas and Les Funky Bitches Fantastique (international cabaret), David was also featured as a soloist with the Centre Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Scott Jackson Wylie, performing works by Bizet and Massenet (Werther) at Saint Peter’s Church.
Besides performing classical and operatic works at important places of worship, David has also been booed off the stage at the legendary Apollo Theater, as well as having actually performed at venues like The Knitting Factory (NYC & Hollywood), The Bottom Line, Minton’s Playhouse, The Bitter End, Fillmore NY@Irving Plaza, Tonic, Brooklyn Museum, Lincoln Center “Out Of Doors” Festival, The 55 Bar, B.B. King Blues, as well as all 3 of CBGB’s performance spaces. He also once had the distinct pleasure of repeatedly marching across the stage of The Metropolitan Opera as a (scantily clad) spear carrier of the Egyptian army in “Aida”.
Besides his performance credits, David also works hawking wares at The Metropolitan Opera and is the head of the Canadian Outreach department for Democracy Now!
He is also the creator/producer of the “Improv At The Khyber” series in Halifax, Canada, which continues in conjunction with Norman Adams and SuddenlyLISTEN. The series features internationally-known musicians, in an intimate gallery venue, and encourages them to freely improvise and explore with other players, most of who have never met before.
His quintet, David Aaron’s Short Memory, was formed in 1996, with the assistance and constant harassment of consumer electronics editor/guru (and then “stick” player), Brent Butterworth. It boasts alumni such as Brad Jones (Ornette Coleman, Elvin Jones), E.J. Rodriguez (Marc Ribot, Lounge Lizards), Greg Ritchie (Dave Liebman, The Story), as well as Dmitri Kolesnik (Jim Rotondi, Lenny White), Rob Ritchie, Jake Oelrichs (St. Dirt Elementary School), Oswaldo Amorim Filho, Dave Scherer, Melissa Andrew, Damien Moynihan and Matt Wigton (Ben Monder, Bill McHenry).
Short Memory’s current NY-based, quintet incarnation includes, Spencer Katzman (of The Spencer Katzman Threeo) on guitar, Jon Frederick on bass, Dan Kurfirst on drums and Marty Bound on trumpet, as well as the Canadian contingent, Dawn Hatfield (Johnny Favourite, The Sidecats) on baritone sax, Peter Johnston (See Through Trio, Quatrain) on bass, Lukas Pearse (Fred Frith, Buck 65, Russian Dragons), also on bass, and Benn E. Ross (Thrush Hermit, Heavy Meadows) on drums.
His latest jazz ensemble is “Flip City”, featuring Will McEvoy (bass), among other guest artists.
He also currently has a trio with classical alto saxophonist, Kristen McKeon of the New Thread Saxophone Quartet and clarinetist, Megan Shumate who perform David’s “pseudo-classical” works.
David's work is an inconvenient cross-pollination of jazz, blues, art-rock, free improv, pseudo-classical, drone, minimilism and beyond.
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Ozone Park, NY
Willing to teach: