Aaron Irwin Group: Wide Awake (2004)

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This is the debut recording for New York-based saxophonist Aaron Irwin. Following graduate work at the University of Miami, he has recorded this year with the school's Concert Jazz Band on Romances and also appeared on a 1999 compilation for the Lakeside Jazz label in Chicago on Mile By Miles Jazz.

Aaron Irwin uses this opportunity to showcase seven original compositions. "Swallow This" was influenced by Steve Swallow's composition "Falling Grace," while "Cheeky" is in honor of one of his favorite saxmen, Chris Creek. Irwin is featured on both soprano and alto sax and he is preferably more interesting on alto sax notably on the ballad "Cinder on an Ash Heap." Bryan Murray sits in on three numbers on tenor sax and the combination of the two horns adds excitement to the group. Matt Clohesy, one of the two bassists, gets a chance to stretch on "Folks I Dig." The nature of the two horns is neo-bop and the style is reminiscent of the 1980s, when musicians like Bob Berg and Michael Brecker dominated in the jazz studios. Keyboardist Ryan Weaver adds to this picture by using Fender Rhodes throughout the session, providing a retro-jazz feel. The tunes are all serviceable but would have been more appreciated with the addition of a few standards or familiar jazz pieces thrown in.

Track Listing: Wide Awake, Cheeky, Dig Big, Cinder on an Ash Heap, Folks I Dig, Swallow This, It's Time to Go.

Personnel: Aaron Irwin, alto/soprano sax; Bryan Murray,tenor sax(tracks 2,5,7); Ryan Weaver, fender rhodes; Matt Clohesy, bass(tracks 2,5,7) or Jeff Kraly, bass(tracks 1,3,4); Vinnie Sperrazza, drums.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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