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Aaron Koppel

The Aaron Koppel Quartet is a local Chicago jazz ensemble lead by guitarist Aaron Koppel. Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Aaron started playing guitar at age eleven and has been composing music virtually his entire life. Over the years Koppel has established a name for himself in the local jazz scene and has also gained national recognition. Downbeat Magazine, in a recent article, states, “26-year-old Koppel takes a conventional form (mainstream jazz) and makes something of it, breaking up the material, avoiding the tendency to just write blowing vehicles.” In an article by legendary jazz critic Neil Tesser, Koppel is described as “an inventive composer and surprisingly mature 20-something leader” Jazziz Magazine, 2009. AKQ’s new album “Falling Together Falling Apart” is on the 2009 Grammy nominating ballot for Best Instrumental Jazz Album and made #7 in Neil Tesser’s Top Ten Chicago Jazz Discs of 2009. The AKQ were also nominated for two International jazz awards: Best International Jazz Song and Best International Jazz Group, in the 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards.

Performing together since 2004, the quartet consists of Chicago natives pianist Matt Nelson(Lupe Fiasco), bassist Graham Czach(Chicago Afrobeat Project), and drummer Robert Tucker(Matthew Santos). While touring with hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, Matt Nelson has appeared on The David Letterman Show and The Colbert Report. The quartet is a unique bop-driven force that can only be described as what it is: another new exit off the highway of jazz. AKQ infuses the styles of jazz, soul, Latin, fusion, funk and world music. JazzChicago.net coined AKQ as “some of the best young players (and composers) the city has to offer.”

In 2007, the AKQ released their debut album “The Wild Call of the Multi-Tasker” recorded by Grammy-nominated producer/engineer Greg Magers. The album received high acclaim. “The Wild Call… kept me ‘til the end!” Bobby Broom, 2007. With the release of their first album, the AKQ has been able to establish a solid fan base which has given the group the opportunity of playing a variety of Chicago’s finest venues and music festivals. In 2009, AKQ recorded their second album "Falling Together Falling Apart" with Chicago Sessions, LLC. On this disc Koppel invited featured guest saxophonists Geof Bradfield and Greg Ward creating “a band of heavyweights” Chicago Jazz Magazine, 2009. “The ensemble that Koppel has assembled for this recording reflects the best and brightest of the highly creative Chicago modern jazz scene…[Koppel] is at the top of his game as a soloist, his writing shows a depth and understanding of modern jazz harmony that is as exciting as it is engaging.” All About Jazz, 2009.

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“A new force to contend with.” -Alain Drouot, Jazzgram, Jazz Institute of Chicago, July 2010

“26-year-old Koppel takes a conventional form (mainstream jazz) and makes something of it, breaking up the material, avoiding the tendency to just write blowing vehicles.” -John Ephland, Downbeat Magazine, December 2009.

“(Koppel) doesn’t dizzy you with his solos. He pops in when ready, and steps out of the spotlight with taste and grace.” -Steve Forstneger, Illinois Entertainer, December 2009.

“On his quartet’s 2009 disc ‘Falling Together Falling Apart’, mainstream guitarist Aaron Koppel established himself as an inventive composer and surprisingly mature 20-something leader. Inspired by the writing of Dave Holland and Avishai Cohen, the Chicago-area native studied guitar with Bobby Broom, which probably helps account for his tasty melodicism.” - Neil Tesser, Jazziz, Fall 2009.

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


EDUCATION - Columbia College Chicago (2003-2007) Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Performance. Performed with jazz ensembles and combos, Joe Lovano, Jon Faddis, Pat Martino, and Bootsy Collins. - Studied with legendary Chicago jazz guitarist Bobby Broom (2002) - New Trier Township High School, Winnetka, IL (1997-2001) Played in the Downbeat award-winning jazz ensembles and bluegrass band. TEACHING EXPERIENCE - Adjunct Music Faculty Hinsdale Central High School (Sept 2007-current) Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, IL www.hcjazz.org Responsibilities include running sectionals with all three jazz band's rhythm sections; running concert band sectionals, running percussion ensemble; and private jazz instruction for piano, bass, and guitar

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Chicago Sessions


Falling Together...

Chicago Sessions



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