Aaron Aranita & Eastbound Connection (Sugartown Records) 



January 1, 2022  Release date for "Connection"  2 CD's 110 minutes of music by Eastbound.


Aaron Aranita

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Connection: Inside the inimitable sound world of Aaron Aranita.
Raul Da Gama. Latinjazz.net

If, 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

Connection: Inside the inimitable sound world of Aaron Aranita.
Raul Da Gama. Latinjazz.net

If, 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 – 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. As an instrumentalist Aranita is a master of Romantic self-expression. His performance on the array of reeds and woodwinds, percussion instruments, bass guitar, and his pianism is all marked by the kind of luscious, expressive warmth that speaks volumes of his romanticism. Musically he is an introvert and a miniaturist, infusing compositions and orchestrations with an intimacy and emotional intensity which can only be described as the “poetry of feeling.” But Aranita is also an experimental composer, exploiting the full potential of the instruments he employs to express is musical vision. This is also the strong suit of possible influences such as Clare Fischer and Paul Winter. Moreover, what marks Aranita’s compositions and orchestrations out as uniquely his own is the way he decorates a simple phrase not as ornament for ornament’s sake but as the expression of deeply felt emotion. Thus in his music, instruments and orchestrations become one. The orchestra [or ensemble’s] role morphs gently as the music advances in theme and exposition of theme in gentle waves, with each wave rising as a soloing instrument is ordained to take over the flow of the music and guide it to a new sonic crest before tumbling into the collective cascade that revisits the theme, stating it with brand new expression as if from a wholly different conceptual perspective. This is exquisitely true of each of the eighteen pieces on the double-CD set flowing over with artistic devices and gestures making for an embarrassment of musical riches from end to end. The repertoire is flagged off by 8-5, which is based on a melody created from an eight-note bar, followed by an eloquent five bar harmonic exposition of the melody, redolent of the beautifully articulated vibraphone played by Thomas Mackay. This is followed by the ethereal-sounding piece, A Dream of Tomorrow, in which Aranita’s soaring soprano saxophone leads the ensemble through a series of choruses, entwined by Thomas Hamasu’s cheekily discordant bass lines. A Penumbra is a hypnotically slow cha-cha-cha that melds into a polyrhythmic inferno, constantly tapping at the hull of the melody, testing its soundness, and cheering the instrumentalists on with the beguiling tempo of the congas, timbales, bongos, guiro and drums. Cascading arpeggios by Aranita bend and sculpt phrases, which whip and curl with artful logic around Brent Fischer’s mesmerizing and radiant vibes. Capricioso Cateretê delivers on its title in the grand manner: it is typically intense and virtuosic in nature and is scored for an array of multi-layered instrumental voices with Aranita’s flute occupying the high and lonesome range, held together by the steady rattle and hum of snare drums, hissing cymbals and rumbling bass. The rhythmic momentum is temporarily slowed down and tempered by the tender, balletic Memórias De Amor, with its profusion of higher-pitched instrumentation making for a melodic line reminiscent of a songful arabesque where the soprano saxophone floats above all else. The transcendent musicality is followed by the mad rush to the head of Frevo Intangival, metered by its double and triple time dashes, which are parenthetical and light up the harmonic changes that they so cleverly interrupt and embellish. Then comes the cooling and polyrhythmic Moon Shadows, lined with silvery notes and phrases that ebb and flow from the alto and bass flute, as Adel Cardoso’s airy guitar lines and the other instruments bask in the sensuality of lunar caress The musicians continue to traverse music’s most tactile territory as Aranita’s arrangement turns up the heat and the sensuousness with Onde Da Calor. Aranita leads with fluid saxophone and piccolo lines that often pause and breathe as the drums and percussion punctuate the dark-toned melody and harmony. CD One ends with the song Hasta Nuevo Aviso, which is tantalisingly puckish, pitting Aranita’s baritone saxophone with Thomas Arsisto’s C-flute and Dave Yamasaki’s guitar. The song beckons the listener to eagerly await what is to come on the next disc with bated breath and great expectation, but to also take the plunge in the very expectancy that the exquisite melodic, harmonic and rhythmic conception of this piece creates. Incandescente is a steaming hot rumba, broiled with brass led by trumpeter, Bruno Santos and Aranita’s woodwinds, interjected by the leader’s montuno-modal playing piano wrapped and tattooed into rhythmic shape by Tim Gutierrez’s percussion colours. Lost Voices is an angular piece with dark tones and a meditative, moody bass line that is superbly articulated by Thomas Hamasu, whose melodic solo midway through the piece forms a gentle, elliptical arc around the intricate, questing melody. Aranita’s tenor saxophone solo follows immediately in which the leader languidly sculpts one melodic variation upon another building the tension in the piece. This is dissipates smoothly over the acoustic guitar lines. Samba Del Sol speaks eloquently to the joie de vivre of Aranita’s understanding of, and conception that brilliantly aligns with the heat of the Tropicália expression, glorifying one of the most iconic forms of music and dance in the world. In soli and in ensemble, the music seems to erupt as if from the nuclear corona of our nearest star, in which this song is anchored. Zero Return Policy follows. The song is appropriately accoutered with a quarrelsome melodic line between the flute and the rest of the orchestra. The rhythmic pattern revs up dramatically somewhere in the middle before slowing down as the musicians return it to its original theme until it reaches its graceful dénouement. With Ritmo Tropical Aranita has the ensemble dancing to a different rhythmic pattern, more complicated and more frenetic, featuring the rapid tattoo of the timbales against the steady rat-a- tat-tat of the snare of Anthony King’s drum set together with the sizzle of his cymbals. The intricate bass line intertwines gregariously with the rest of the ensemble on this maddeningly rhythmic piece. Contemplação is a shadowy piece, written on an ink-dark tonal palette. Its hypnotic groove tumbles out of Aranita’s wailing soprano saxophone deeply entwined with the guitar. Seis Quatro is another heated rhythmic piece. No tempo rattles the intricate drumming of Anthony King as he locks horns with Bruno Santos’ flugelhorn and Marcelo Góis’ bass. Melancólico is an adventuresome and oblique piece. It is mournful, exquisitely prismatic and abstract. Clearly Aranita has listened to Debussy and Ravel whose influences light up the work harmonically albeit Aranita imparting to both melodic and harmonic conception something that is exquisitely his own. Chuck James’s drumming and Peter Factora’s percussion colours meld excellently with the tintinnabulations of Sunny Silva’s guitar. July 28 is a mysterious piece and reveals the masterly touch of Aranita in both composition and touch. His playing throughout this ethereal piece is exquisitely conceived and executed from the swaggering introduction to the delicately meditative middle that flows into Thomas Mackay’s vibraphone before Aranita launches into yet another melodic variation with moist and heated saxophone. There will be no cause not to “know” the musician Aaron Aranita after this album to die for. One among a rare breed of musicians hailing from Waipahu, Hawaii, to be equally steeped in the idioms of jazz, Afro-Latin and Afro-Brasilian music as well as in the classical tradition. Aranita came to the saxophone after high school. “I became interested in the alto after getting interested in learning jazz. Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley were my favourite players,” he reveals. “I had to take flute as a second instrument for big bands [in school]. But soon I took an interest in Hubert Laws and Joe Farrell’s playing,” Aranita says. He graduated to the soprano saxophone as he found it ideally suited for playing melodically. “It seemed to be the natural instrument on which I honed my phrasing and style,” he says. “Classical music was also part of my music education. I gravitated to studying piano, flute and clarinet repertoire in this realm and I became a lifelong student of this music – and jazz – to hone my pianism and the art of orchestration. It’s no wonder then that such a remarkable sound world has gone into producing a unique sound world... and to the recording of Connection, a double album to absolutely die for...

Raul De Gama Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician He has published three collections of poetry, He has studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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all music composed by Aaron Aranita

CD 1

1. 8-5 

2. A Dream For Tomorrow

3. A Penumbra

4. Capricioso Caterete

5.Memorias De Amor

6. Frevo Intangival

7. Moon Shadows

8. Onde Da Calor

9. Hasta Nuevo Aviso

CD 2


2.Lost Voices

3.Samba Del Sol

4.Zero Return Policy

5.Ritmo Tropical


7.Seis Quatro


9.July 28

Aaron Aranita. Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bari saxes. Bb soprano, Alto and Bass Clarinet,Piccolo, Concert, Alto and Bass Flutes, Piano, bass guitar, percussion 
Brent Fischer Vibraphone.                                                          Thomas Hamasu Bass 
David Yamasaki. Guitar. 
Rogério Araújo Drums 
Peter Factora Drums & percussion                                          Scott Shafer Drums                                                                      Anthony King Drums. 
Thomas Arsisto C Flute. 
Alberto Beserra Bass & percussion                                            Tim Gutierrez percussion 
Hermès Da Silva- percussion 
Bruno Santos. Trumpet & Flugelhorn.                                        Chuck James Drums. 
Thomas Mackey Vibraphone. 
Abel Cruz Cardoso-Guitar. 
Marcello Góis -bass. 
Sonny Silva- Guitar.