According to Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Burnett is “a standout new voice on the saxophone.” In a very short time, the young musician has already lent his personal and unhindered approach to a breadth of bandleaders including Esperanza Spalding, Wynton Marsalis, Anti-Pop Consortium‘s HPRIZM, Weasel Walter and Kurt himself.
Aaron was born in Mykonos, Greece, and began his relationship with music after being exposed to classic 70’s soul music, Prince, and the pop music of the 80’s. A few months after his fifth birthday, Aaron moved with his mother and stepfather to the United States, settling first in Chicago. He began his formal training on the saxophone at age of eleven, as a middle school student in Chesapeake, VA. As a student at Berklee College of Music, Aaron co-founded Sistine Criminals, a drum and bass project rooted in his collaborative relationship with the drummer Greg Sgrulloni. During this period, he also met current collaborators including the pianist Carlos Homs, the drummer/multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey, the guitarist Andy Berman, and the bassist Nick Jozwiak around this time as well, who are all members of the group Aaron calls “The Big Machine.” Aaron speaks about the band’s name and purpose:
When we play, it feels as if the gears of an intricate, advanced machine are turning with precision…The band is also a statement to the jazz world that the young jazz musician does not need to only revive the past in which the greats created the path of the music, but we need to express what is happening in today’s society of corporate corruption, governmental corruption, and…our dependence on technology. To me, it is imperative that musicians search for our own voices in the music, and at least make attempts to innovate without being fearful of the risks of that journey.
This Thursday, Aaron will make his first appearance as a leader at The Gallery on our new stage (1160 Broadway, 5th Floor) with The Big Machine. What can you expect to hear? Music from the bands’ unreleased eponymous debut album, which is coming in March. The saxophonist stresses the importance of the range of stylistic influences at play in the band’s output; the ensemble incorporates elements of straight ahead and creative jazz, dubstep, hip hop, drum and bass, modern classical, post bop, fusion, and world music. He also hints at a certain mysticism: “We will be attuning ourselves to the higher vibrational forces of the creator when we perform this music.”
Here are five albums that Aaron has been listening to lately: