Probably not what you are expecting. Renegade jazz with a mohawk. Energized, eclectic and a weirdo that you dont want to miss. A concoction of jazz, hiphop, avantgarde, rock, and more. A combination of conservatory training, raw emotion and a clever sense of musical storytelling.
Aaron Staebell hails from Buffalo, NY and has lived in Rochester, NY since 2001. Jazz legend Bob Brookmeyer described Aaron as having “swing, energy and musicianship to a remarkable degree” and said, “I would hire him. My utmost praise.” Having earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Staebell is an in-demand performer, clinician and composer both locally and nationwide.
As a performer, Staebell is active as both a drummer and percussionist. He has played with such visionaries as Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and Tony Malaby. He has performed with smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun, jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and is a member of the Brownman Electryc Trio (Toronto, CA). He also spent time as the drummer for the hip-hop syndicate ”Gruvasylum” featuring Mad Dukez and for jazz vocalist Madeline Forster. He was a member of Downbeat Magazine’s “Best Collegiate Jazz Ensemble” in 2009 with the ESM New Jazz Ensemble and Dave Rivello. His playing has been described as “honest, unpredictable and refreshing” and he is a frequent first-call for recording sessions, musicals, concerts and a wide range of freelance projects.
His quintet of improvisers, Bending and Breaking, is touted as “probably not what you are expecting.” The music is at times very chaotic and free, and at other times is very organized and composed. Staebell composes all of the music, and encourages each group member to bring an original voice to the compositions. The Toronto Star called him “…energized and eclectic and a weirdo you don’t want to miss.” His debut album was released in June of 2011, and was met with outstanding reviews. Bruce Lindsay of All About Jazz called it “a debut filled with energy, enthusiasm, and invention, signaling the appearance of yet another talented newcomer on the scene.” It was named by iTunes to its “New and Noteworthy” list on the day it was released. The success of the release led to Staebell being a featured interview guest on popular jazz podcast “The Jazz Session” with Jason Crane.
His playing can be heard on two other recent releases: an album by trumpeter Dave Chisholm called “Calligraphy”, and a release from Ben Thomas featuring free jazz legend Tony Malaby called “Endless Mountain Regions”. Staebell has already recorded the tracks for the forthcoming “Instrumental” project by Dave Chisholm, which combines a suite of 8 songs with a 200 page graphic novel.
As a composer, Aaron is gaining a reputation as a fresh voice in the musical landscape. His compositions for percussion soloist and ensembles blend a wide variety of influences, from classical to jazz, along with modern pop and contemporary music as well. Since 2008, he has been the Composer-in-Residence for the West Shore Central Schools (Harrisburg, PA) “Day of Percussion” and previously held that title at Fairport High School (Rochester, NY).
Recent works for percussion include The State of Things for percussion quartet and laptop, The Seven Virtues for percussion trio, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, for percussion quartet and projected images. His self-published book, Alternative Solos for Snare Drum, makes use of contemporary techniques, notation and sounds within the snare drum solo repertoire.
Staebell’s teachers have included Rich Thompson, John Hollenbeck, John Riley, Tom Davis and Bill Dobbins. He has studied in workshops with Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Tony Malaby, Claire Fischer and Mark Helias. He is also active as an educator, teaching public school in Greece, NY as well as freelance private lessons. He has been on staff for the WGI “A class” finalist Hilton Indoor Percussion, and previously held the teaching assistant position at Eastman for the Jazz Drumset studio.
- Spirit Music: Bob Brookmeyer at 80 (secretsociety.typepad.com)