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Aaron Lington

Grammy Award-winning baritone saxophonist and composer Aaron Joseph Lington (b. 1974) received his BM in music education from the University of Houston, Moores School of Music, and both his MM in jazz studies and DMA in saxophone performance from the University of North Texas where he studied with James Riggs. His performing and compositional credits include collaborations with the San Francisco Symphony, Maynard Ferguson, the BBC Radio Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Bo Diddley, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Jamie Davis, Tommy Igoe, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, and many others. In addition, he has won awards for both his playing and writing from Downbeat Magazine, ASCAP, and was the 2003 recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award. He was named the 2011 “Jazz Educator of the Year” by the California Music Educators Association, and has been recognized multiple times in both the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll and Reader’s Poll. In 2015 he was named as a Silicon Valley Artist Laureate. The San José Mercury News praises Dr. Lington’s playing as “revelatory…he obviously relishes the beautiful, blustery bark of his instrument…” and that he possesses a “…finely honed melodic sensibility…” Josh Davies from the International Trumpet Guild states that Lington “...[shows] a true command of his instrument with a very studied and soulful essence.” Cadence magazine declares “Lington and compatriots come up with a wonderful and totally American jazz sound, [resulting in] a solid mainstream set based on some sweet melodic improvisation.”

In addition to his position as professor at San José State University where he serves as Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Dr. Lington is a Saxophone Performing Artist for Selmer Saxophones and is a D’Addario Performing Artist and performs exclusively on Rico Reeds.


  • 2014 GRAMMY Award "Best Tropical Latin Album" - Pacific Mambo Orchestra
  • 2014 ECMA "Jazz Record of the Year" - Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Three
  • Silicon Valley Artist Laureate
  • 2018 ECMA "Jazz Record of the Year" - Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Five
  • 2021 GRAMMY Nomination "Live at Birdland" Count Basie Orchestra


Album Review

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six

Read "Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six" reviewed by Jack Bowers

In jazz terms, trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington's Bicoastal Collective is a long-running series, as this marks the sixth recording produced during their sixteen-year partnership. As Chapters One to Five were splendid, it might have been advisable to close the book there. However, Tynan and Lington have chosen to forge ahead, and so Chapter Six must be appraised on its own merits. Before weighing the music, it should be noted that Tynan and Lington ...

Liner Notes

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six

Read "Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six" reviewed by Gary Carner

If you ask yourself: What is the definition of meaningtul contemporary jazz? What do well-crafted jazz tunes played by stellar musicians sound like? How do you combine fresh music ideas with the heritage of jazz as we know it? How do you inject various harmonic layers into jazz compositions and still make it sound accessible? What's the definition of serious jazz with a playful attitude? The answer is: Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington's Bicoastal Collective. From the first ...

Album Review

Jason Keiser: Shaw's Groove

Read "Shaw's Groove" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The “Shaw" in guitarist Jason Keiser's album Shaw's Groove is the late great Woody Shaw, one of the more innovative and influential jazz trumpeters of the twentieth century. Even though he lived only forty-four years (he died in May 1989), Shaw was an important role model whose sweeping influence remains strong to this day, both as a player and composer. The first four songs on Shaw's Groove were written by Shaw himself, among the many he composed ...

Album Review

Chris Walden: Missa Iubileum Aureum: Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass

Read "Missa Iubileum Aureum: Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass" reviewed by Jack Bowers

First things first: there is no doubt that Chris Walden's reverential Missa Iubileum Aureum ("Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass") is beautifully written and wonderfully performed by the LMR Jazz Orchestra, St. Dominick's Schola Cantorum and cantors Kurt Elling and Tierney Sutton. Is it jazz? That is another question, one not so easily answered. While there are elements of jazz, they are incidental and generally overshadowed by the more doctrinal aspects of what is essentially an homage to devotion and piety. And ...

Album Review

Pacific Mambo Orchestra: The III Side

Read "The III Side" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Pacific Mambo Orchestra—PMO, for short—has a lot to celebrate. With the calendar turning to 2020, this Grammy-winning Latin big band celebrated its 10th anniversary and the early January release of this potent third album. Inviting special guests, strings and part-time personnel to the party, PMO uses this opportunity to craft a spicy stew seasoned with Mambo, Timba, Bolero, bop, classical associations and a whole lot more. With an excess of heat and rhythmic vivacity in its soul, ...

Album Review

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Five

Read "Chapter Five" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Chapter Five is the fifth recording by Paul Tynan / Aaron Lington's Bicoastal Collective, which derives its name from the fact that trumpeter Tynan lives in Nova Scotia, saxophonist Lington in San Jose, CA. What sets this CD apart from the others is that the Collective has morphed from a smaller version to a full-fledged eighteen- piece big band. The music remains essentially the same with four compositions by Tynan and four by Lington, all of which ...

Album Review

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington: Bicoastal Colletive: Chapter 4

Read "Bicoastal Colletive: Chapter 4" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington first met more than fifteen years ago when they were grad students at the University of North Texas in Denton. After gigging separately for a few years, they formed the Bicoastal Collective about a decade ago and have been playing and recording together ever since. This could reasonably be called the Binational Collective, as four of the five musicians on Chaper Four are Canadian, with Lington the lone American. He lives in ...

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"Chapter Five," Fifth Album By The Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington Bicoastal Collective, Due May 19 From Oa2 Records

"Chapter Five," Fifth Album By The Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington Bicoastal Collective, Due May 19 From Oa2 Records

Source: Terri Hinte Publicity

Since joining forces in 2008 as the Bicoastal Collective, trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington have recorded a series of outstanding albums ranging in instrumentation from tentet to quintet to sextet to a quintet featuring a Hammond B-3 organist. Chapter Five, their fifth album and the first with a full 18-piece big band, adds a sumptuous new volume to the duo’s already impressive discography. The new CD will be released May 19 by OA2 Records. As on its ...

"First rate beautiful writing and playing..." —Randy Brecker

The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy, the drummer/bandleader’s 15-piece collective, is all about big: big band, big sound, the big buzz they’ve generated during their Tuesday-night residency at Yoshi’s in the Bay Area. The band’s self-titled debut recording doesn’t stint on size, either. It’s a bold, brassy collection of R&B and funk-inflected tracks with no shortage of speed, soul and swing. Igoe’s drumming, splashy and full of hard-hitting runs, solidly supports the ensemble, but the bandleader is happy to largely cede the spotlight to a gifted collection of musicians. Standouts include trombonist John Gove, whose fat tone and nimble slide work liven up Bob Berg’s “Friday Night at the Cadillac Club”; trumpeter Dave Len Scott, doing Arturo Sandoval proud on the Cuban maestro’s exultant “Caprichosos De La Habana”; and alto saxophonist Marc Russo, who wails jubilantly on “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and “Let the Good Times Roll.” Russo is joined on the latter by guest vocalist Kenny Washington, who also rings forth with a joyful wordless solo on “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” his crystal-clear voice a pleasing contrast to Aaron Lington’s deep-in-the-pocket baritone sax. But thinking back on The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy, it’s less the solos one remembers than the sheer driving force of the booming unison brass-and-reeds arrangements. Whether darting their fleet-footed way through the intricate lines of Joshua Redman’s “Jazz Crimes” or having a ball on guest bassist Michael League’s (Snarky Puppy) richly funk-ified “Quarter Master” (on which Igoe cuts loose with a ripping march-cadence solo), the TIGC brings high-flying energy and exhilarating musicianship to the table. —Matt Lohr, Jazz Times

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, baritone


San Jose

Willing to teach

Advanced only


DMA Saxophone Performance, UNT 2005 MM Jazz Studies, UNT 2001 BM Music Education, Univ. of Houston 1998

Clinic/Workshop Information

Clinics available on: saxophone performance (jazz and classical) arranging composition improvisation



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Shaw's Groove

OA2 Records


Missa Iubileum...

Origin Records


The III Side

Pacific Mambo Records


Chapter Five

OA2 Records


Arbitrary Rules

From: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter...
By Aaron Lington

Organ Grinder

From: Shaw's Groove
By Aaron Lington

Offertory - The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (feat. Tierney Sutton & Kurt Elling)

From: Missa Iubileum Aureum: Golden...
By Aaron Lington


From: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter...
By Aaron Lington


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