Guitarist and curator Zacc Harris has announced a fifth season of Jazz at Studio Z, launching Saturday, October 29 with the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet. An honored composer as well as saxophonist and bandleader, Hedenstrom is joined by Harris on guitar, Bryan Nichols on piano, Graydon Peterson on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums. The music begins at 7 pm following a free master class at 6 pm on “Strategies for Improvising on Complex Compositions.”
Aaron Hedenstrom was born in Lesotho (Africa) where his parents were teaching; he grew up in the Twin Cities where he developed his interest and talent in music, discovering the area had “more than enough opportunities to listen to amazing local musicians, study music with them, and partake in fun extra-curricular music programs such as the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth and Minnesota Youth Jazz Band.” Aaron attended the jazz program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, performing in the pop/rock band Underdub and with the John Raymond Project. Raymond described Aaron as “a very eclectic kind of guy” and “a monster player… I get so much inspiration from him in his playing, his writing, and just the way he approaches improvising.”
Aaron moved to Denton, TX where he enrolled in the master’s degree and then the doctoral programs at the University of North Texas, serving as a Teaching Fellow and performing in the famed One O’Clock Lab Band. He also performed as a freelancer in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metro area before returning to the Twin Cities in 2015. As a student, Aaron earned a number of composing and arranging awards–2012 Detroit Jazz Festival Arranging Contest (for his arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Yes and No”), the Herb Alpert ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, the Jazz Education Network Student Composer Showcase, 2013 Downbeat Student Award, Best Graduate Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist, and 2014 Downbeat Student Award, Best Graduate Jazz Soloist.
Aaron has released two recordings to date: A Symphonic Jazz Hip Hop Experience was the tantalizing title of his debut recording with his Aaron Hedenstrom Orchestra, released in 2010, bringing together a long list of young area musicians. Supported through a successful Kickstarter campaign, he released A Moment of Clarity on Shifting Paradigm Records in 2014, featuring six original compositions that Hedenstrom noted “represent a part of my daily spiritual journey through life as well as my faith in Christ… This album is all about creating meaningful art that speaks from the heart. The idea behind the music is to take all of the tools I’ve learned from my modern jazz training and create something that is both interesting to listen to as well as emotionally moving. …My goal is to create music that stirs up deep thought about the nature of life.” While each track exudes its own energy and mood, in sum the album flows as an intentional suite of inter-connected themes. Notes Aaron, “All of the pieces on this record offer something different, but they all fit within the same musical universe, moving fluidly from one piece to the next.”
Aaron has performed across the United States as a jazz saxophonist, clinician, and composer; and has written numerous big band works, string arrangements, small group pieces, and chamber works. His collaborations have included saxophonist Bob Reynolds, the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, vocalist Marlene Verplanck, vocalist Don Most and Sean Carey. As a saxophonist, Aaron has been a featured guest artist at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wichita State University, and Eastern Washington University. He has performed at top-tier music venues and festivals nationwide including the Dakota Jazz Club, Snug Harbor, Scat Jazz Lounge, Next Generation Jazz Festival, and the Eau Claire Jazz Festivals
Master Class: Strategies For Improvising On Complex Compositions (6 pm)
Any jazz player knows that it’s a tough task to improvise over complex chord progressions and forms. Aaron Hedenstrom’s original compositions present challenging chord progressions in varying time signatures. In this master class, Aaron will delve into the process of learning how to understand and play through these challenging musical puzzles and find ways to make each solo expressive and natural.
Studio Z is located on the second floor of the Northwestern Building in Lowertown St. Paul, at 275 E 4th Street, on the corner of 4th and Wall. There is street parking available plus several lots, including the Farmers Market and the Union Depot lots. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. If you attend the master class, you get the advance ticket price. Kids 12 and under get in free. Purchase advance tickets at http://www.studiozstpaul.com/jasz-102916.html