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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
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"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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