MICHAEL DOHERTY’S MUSIC LOG
by Michael Doherty
Aaron Bazzell: “Aesthetic” – The debut full-length album from saxophonist Aaron Bazzell features all original compositions. Joining him on this release are Keith Brown on piano, Brandon Donald on drums, and Jonathan Michel on bass, with Rachel Robinson on vocals for one track. The album opens with “Tomorrow Today,” which has a wonderful warmth right from its start, particularly in Aaron’s work on alto sax. There is a light element to this piece, giving the sense of the brevity of life, that these dances are just a few breaths and we should do our best to enjoy them before we pass into dust. But there is nothing depressing about this track. Rather, it unites us in a strange joy, for this brevity is something we all have in common. As it reaches toward its climax, there is a sense of determination. Then “Asked And Answered” has a relaxed, somewhat soothing vibe as it begins, and features a good lead on bass. This track picks up some energy as it goes, particularly during the conversation between piano and saxophone. “Unrequited” is a moving piece, one of reflection and pain, but yet perseverance. Then “First Period Prep” is about getting ready for a busy day, in this case specifically a day of teaching. Aaron Bazzell has been teaching music in New York, and this piece comes from his experiences, and features a nice groove. Teachers are not valued nearly as much as they should be in this country, even now when their jobs are made even more difficult (and dangerous) by the pandemic. But you don’t have to be a teacher to appreciate this excellent track. The one track to feature vocals is “Eventually,” a song about pursuing one’s dreams, told from the perspective of that dream itself. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “I’m closer to you than I may appear/All that’s separating you and I is fear/Beware the test that I will put you through.” The album concludes with “Increase And Persist,” a lively piece featuring some exciting work on saxophone, an excellent lead on piano and a beat to propel us all forward. This album is scheduled to be released on April 22, 2022.