Archive for January 17th, 2022

Aaron Aranita Eastbound – Connection

ConnectionIf, remarkably, there may still be a few astute listeners around the world who, when told of the leader of this project, still ask the question: “Aaron who…?” the answer becomes eminently clear in the fine music of this double disc package. Truth be told, the discerning cognoscenti of fine musical art and to the really knowledgeable and worldly-wise musician, Aaron Aranita has been recognized as an artist of the first order for more than three decades – a virtuoso on an array of saxophones – from his principal melodic instrument, the soprano to the gravitas of the baritone [and everything in between]; and like the saxophone, a master of the bass clarinet, a range of flutes and an authentic multi-instrumentalist who plays piano, bass guitar and percussion.

But thus halo that surrounds his instrumental capability obscures a greater truth and this is that Aranita is one of the finest revolutionaries of orchestral music, making huge advances in structure, harmony, melody and – most dramatically – in rhythm, investing every form with inexhaustible potential for expression. In fact he has – using uncommon ingenuity – refined the orchestral sound of Latin Jazz with the unique blend of deep feeling and elegance manifesting a perfect, Clare Fischeresque synthesis of form and substance.

The Eastbound double-CD project – entitled Connection  (2022) – has come an opportune moment in time, which marks a reunion with Aranita together with Anthony King and Tim Gutierrez, original alumni of the Eastbound band from 30 years ago, plus a stellar cast of other musicians. The music here is more ambitious in its orchestration than may have heard from Aranita before and really allows this sterling ensemble to show off their skills. The result is that you get performances of real character and bite, with Aranita’s innovative orchestral timbres emphasized to occasionally startling extremes sustained by a masterful phraseology; sometimes by deepening mystery and often lifted by rhapsodic dénouements. Continue reading