Title - 'Haymarket Station'
Artist - Aaron Stroessner Quartet
For those not in the know, from a small town in Wisconsin, Aaron Stroessner grew up a self-taught rock guitarist until college, when he started studying music by day and following unheralded blues master Paul Black around Madison, WI by night.
Stroessner’s love of Black’s music deepened his interest in blues and eventually jazz, after transferring to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
At Berklee, and subsequently, for many years in New York City, Stroessner befriended an extraordinary group of jazz musicians who would influence his development in unexpected ways.
In an act of rebellion, he returned to his roots, playing original rock with the somewhat infamous band Sweetybomb, whose post-punk penchant for the Pixies was an early influence.
Stroessner subsequently created his country-punk-grunge-pop band, Dead Left, singing and playing with fellow guitarist Zeke Zima, bassist Bob Roe, and drummer Brian Delaney.
Dead Left released four independent CDs over several years and performed regularly in the rock clubs of New York City and in ASCAP, SESAC, and Berklee College showcases.
After a brief stint acting in Los Angeles, Stroessner eventually came to the University of Nebraska to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Guitar.
For a city its size, Lincoln has a healthy music scene, with notable blues, roots and rock clubs.
Indeed, it was during and after graduate school, Aaron wrote the songs on this brand new album (out January 24th, 2020), Haymarket Station, still telling stories, just no longer with words.
Indeed, Haymarket Station is undoubtedly a jazz recording, with extensive improvisations throughout with its ten songs amazingly all recorded in a single day by GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer Tom Ware.
4. 'There and Back'
5. 'Ocho Rios'
6. 'Blue Shoe Samba'
7. 'Django Unchained'
8. 'Big and Strong'
9. 'Blue Tooth'
10. 'Outside Inn'
Also featuring Kevin Lloyd on keys, Mitchell Benson on bass, and Andrew Wray on drums, the Aaron Stroessner Quartet debut Haymarket Station (which has also been sponsored by Lincoln's Capital Jazz Society) is a quietly ambitious ten track album that gently resonates with good, honest vibes throughout.
Kicking off with the upbeat and funky vibe of 'Amtrak,' they back that seamlessly with both the island-flavored (hey, at least to me) 'Kief,' and then the lo-fi, late night jazz club feel of the beautiful 'Mayday.'
The rockin' 'There and Back' is also one of my favorites here and truly showcases Aaron's guitar skills, and is backed by a laid back skat cat melody within 'Ocho Rios,' the fun and perky 'Blue Shoe Samba,' and then the gentle sway of 'Django Unchained.'
The album then rounds out with another rocker, this time the strategic 'Big and Strong,' the finger-snappin' hipsway of 'Blue tooth,' and then comes to a close with some moderated jazz/blues within 'Outside Inn.'
And so, containing some rather memorable themes set in creative explorations of mood and style, and with inspirations cryptically referenced in titles such as 'Amtrak,' 'Kief,' 'There and Back' and 'Django Unchained' paying homage to John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Jeff Beck, and the MJQ, for me, Haymarket Station is, quite easily, already one of my favorite albums of 2020 (and I just know it will be one of yours too).
Aaron Stroessner Quartet @ Facebook