Aaron Aranita
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Aaron Aranita


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"Review of "Don't Stop The Feeling""

Don't Stop The Feeling is an enjoyable and varied program of music by Aaron Aranita. The collection is composed of tracks recorded between 1987 and 2005. Seven of the fourteen tracks are brand new and feature superb soloing by both Aranita and trumpeter Valery Ponomarev. The other tracks are culled from previously unreleased material by the Monterey Eastbound Band, and tracks from Aranita's album Eastbound.
Aranita is listed as performing on saxophone, flutes, clarinets, keyboards, percussion. Most of his work is on alto sax. From an analytical perspective, he has a rich sound and his linear and harmonic concepts are highly developed. More importantly, he plays frmo his heart and soul. He uses all of those skills, that can be developed through hard work, to express himself with passion.
"Jazzamba" is the first track of the album-and one of the newly recorded tracks. This relaxed samba features a front line of Aranita on soprano sax, and Valery Ponomarev on trumpet. Aranita is up first, turning a couple of choruses of happy sounds, demonstrating his melodic fluency. Ponomarev creates consistently superb solos deeply embedded with his hard bop and harmonically sophisticated roots. His effort here is no exception.
Aranita switches to flute on "Kekara." In keeping with the backbeat groove on this track, there are guitar and synth solos. "You Are A Drea" is a beautiful ballad- and apropos change of pace. Aranita is on alto and dances lithely over the colorful chord changes of this original.
"Never Say Never" is another up-tempo samba. Aranita's alto sax solo is superb. His well-constructed ideas flow naturally and with genuine spontaneity. The drummer is live, and the accompaniment is programmed. While Aranita is flawless, it sounds like the accompaniment was less supportive than a live rhythm section.
"Where the Wind Blows" offers a relaxing change of pace. Aranita plays the melody of clarinet, switching to alto sax for the bridge, and then to soprano sax for his solo. His command of the soprano sax is every bit as developed as his alto work. Here, he delivers a lyrical solo, beautifully articulated, and again with heart.
After attending Berklee College of Music Aranita traveled throughout the U.S. and Japan, gaining experience backing up such entertainment icons as Bob Hope, Andy Williams, Natalie Cole, the Temptations and others. Aranita now resides in Hawaii, where he also composes and operates his own recording studio.
Some of the tracks on Don't Stop the Feeling fall into the cross-over arena, with back beat grooves and synth programming. Ponomarev's reputation goes back to his days with Art Blakey, and ensures a measure of the grand trandition on this effort. It is valuable to have distinguished soloists like Valery to add to the credibility. Regardless of the label or style of music from track to track, Aranita is a skilled reed artist and composer, and depth of his artistry shines throughout.
Winthrop Bedford - Jazz Improv - Jazz Improv Magazine

"Wayne Harada's Take"

Don't Stop the Feeling":Wayne Harada's Take

Sunday, July 10, 2005


By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

"DON'T STOP THE FEELING" by Aaron Aranita; Sugartown Records

Genre: Jazz.

Distinguishing notes: This retrospective recording, from 1987 to the present, features original music by Aaron Aranita and is largely derived from his "Eastbound" album, as well as other unreleased tracks, plus new titles featuring guest trumpeter Valery Ponomarev. The fare is a roller-coaster ride through all avenues of jazz, with telling titles like "Kekaha" and "Ellingtonian," with the Berklee School of Music wizard waxing hot and eloquent on both alto and soprano saxophone. "Sugartown," named for his own studio where he records other artists (besides himself), is one of his signatures aired nationally on "Late Night With David Letterman."

The outlook: Yet another opportunity to get acquainted-or reacquainted-with the allure which is Aranita.

Our take: Smooth and sultry jazz, this.

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.

- Honolulu Advertiser

"Review of Eastbound by Chris Mann"

Eastbound by Aaron Aranita – reviewed by Chris Mann

Elsewhere on this site you can read a biography of Hawaiian composer and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Aranita. You can also read my review of Aaron’s second album “One Day”.

We’re doing something a little unusual here and revisiting his first album, which was released in 1998. It came out on the MGC label and was never distributed nationally or, indeed, reviewed outside Hawaii until now.

Hide and Seek is a lovely upbeat opener. It has a real Dotsero-type sound (which is great for me as I love Dotsero). It has a strong melody and is catchy. I particularly enjoyed Aranita’s electric piano solo. Is it You showcases his bright tenor sax sound, which works well with the ‘80’s-style female backing vocals and brassy keyboard sounds.

Natalie is a nice smoky ballad where Aranita’s lovely tenor reminds me of Ronnie Laws. In my notes I wrote “grand and beautiful” – and a week after writing that, I still feel the same. There’s a very breezy feel on Sugartown. Soprano sax dances over Ricardo Pasillas lively percussion, and Peter Horvath’s Chick Corea-style keyboard solo is gorgeous. There is so much to enjoy in this classy tune.

The very romantic One Moment is the first of two vocal tracks on the CD and though the vocal is cleanly recorded, I find the sax sounds on this song more appealing. I’ll make the comparison again with my beloved Ronnie Laws on Far Eastern Standard Time. It has a lovely, lazy 5/4 beat and great chord changes. Superb!

Aranita’s award-winning Gregoria launches with Terry Miller’s lovely fretless bass and Don Pendergrass’ piano before settling into a bluesy ballad with tenor horn to die for – great phrasing, enough reverb and just a classic sound! The title track is a vibrant and upbeat, latin-tinged tune. If you couldn’t hear the similarity with Ronnie Laws’ sound before, just check the soprano sax on this! Think “Every Generation”.

There’s Rippingtons-style intro on the exotic Ka’ohe (Bamboo). I enjoyed Terry’s bass solo on here and the exquisite doubled horn lines throughout. My favourite song. Follow Me is the second vocal and again I’m more drawn to the string synth sounds and heavenly soprano sax than to the vocal itself.

This CD was a real surprise; it’s from a player little known outside his native Hawaii and released on a small label without a major distribution deal. The standard of composition, musicianship and production is very high. I consistently enjoy Aranita’s sax sound and look forward to his next release which will be available later in 2004 and which I hope to review. Aaron’s own website is the one to watch for news. “Eastbound” has been available recently online. If you have problems accessing either of these sites, please let me know and I will contact Aaron to get details of where you can get more information and buy his music.

MGC Records – MGC1019 – Produced by Kool Kat Productions, Inc.

- Smooth-Jazz.de

"Chris Mann's Review of One Day"

August 14th 2002

…Aaron Aranita and Eastbound’s One Day on Sugartown Records. Hawaiian composer and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Aranita has assembled fourteen original compositions. The CD has a good mix of vocal and instrumental tracks and I prefer the tracks where Aranita’s soprano sax piano and gorgeous flute get a chance to shine.

My favourite vocal though is the smoky I’ll Say Goodbye featuring Harve Thompson. The acoustic piano/bass/drums backing is classy and Aranita’s sax solo is very soulful. It’s timeless stuff.

Among the instrumentals, the bluesy Urbanity stands out, as does the tribute to Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta, simply entitled Toninho. That flute and Randall Yamamoto’s funky bass could make you think of Dave Valentin’s tropical and jazzy outings.

Rejoicing is a 100-miles-per hour drums and bass workout. Rogerio Araujo is the man with the sticks and he’s a monster! Kaila Novicki provides a vocal backing reminiscent of Flora Purim.

The uplifting Elima is the album’s best showcase for the high-voltage sound of guitarist Robert Shinoda. His sound is full on – any Yoshiaki Masuo fans out there?

Original songwriter, tasteful pianist and adventurous saxophonist – Aaron Aranita is all of these things. I’ll publicly apologise to him for having taken so long to write about his CD – with a bit of luck, the next one will follow soon…

- Smooth-Jazz.de


CDs released to date:

1998: "Eastbound", Aaron Aranita and the Eastbound band. Eight instrumental originals written by Aaron Aranita and two original songs written by Aaron Aranita feature the voice of Gail Mack.

2001: "One Day", Aaron Aranita along with special guest jazz musicians and singers such as Teresa Bright, Gail Mack aka Kaila Novicki, Vergel Jepas, Ace Thomson, Harve Thompson, Roger Araujo, Carlinhos DeOliviera, Randall Yamamoto, Peter Factora, Miles Jackson, Chuck James and Abe Lagrimas perform fourteen Aaron Aranita original compositions.

2005: "Don't Stop the Feeling", Aaron Aranita and the Eastbound Band and other jazz artists such as Chuck James on drums, John Hulaton on trumpet and acoustic guitar perform fourteen Aaron Aranita instrumental originals. Russian jazz trumpet legend Valery Ponomarev appears on two compositions "Jazzamba" and "Never Say Never".
New Review in Jazzimprov magazine Fall 2005
upcoming reviews and AD in Jazziz magazine January 2006



Aaron Aranita

Aaron Aranita has been a professional working musician for over 25 years. He has worked as a sideman and leader throughout the U.S. and Japan backing up some of the top names in the business, Bob Hope, Andy Williams, Natalie Cole, the Temptations, and Boy Katindig just to name a few. But that is only one aspect of his musicianship.

He started in music young, playing the clarinet then switching to bass in high school, went back to playing woodwinds in college, and then picking up keyboards along the way. He honed his craft in colleges such as Leeward Community College near his hometown of Waipahu, Hawaii and Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, and at dedicated establishments of musical learning such as the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Berklee School of Music was where Aaron decided to reach out even more and really learn from the best teachers available, Joe Viola for saxophone, Greg Hopkins, Phil Wilson and Andy Jaffe for arranging and composition. Evidently, he learned his lessons well because the people at Berklee to nominated him to the Dean's List in 1980.

As a side note, after Berklee, he even found the time to study piano tuning at the San Francisco School of Piano Tuning and Repair while performing with his band, Eastbound, in the Bay Area of California.

Now, as an accomplished musician, he composes both music and lyrics, owns and runs his own commercial studio, Sugartown Records, where he produces and records his own and other artists' albums, and even serves as musical director for the annual Great Hawaiian Jazz Blowout. He is also a well sought after accompanist among Hawaii's finest vocalists.

Aaron's 1998 release, "Eastbound," was nominated for the Jazz Category of the Hoku Hawaiian Music Awards. This CD continues to receive airplay on jazz radio programs throughout the nation and even across the Pacific in Japan. In fact, in 1996, one of the tunes on that CD, "Sugartown," was aired nationally on Late Night with David Letterman.

Among the awards and accolades he has received are the Billboard Certificate of Achievement for Jazz Composition for his tune, "Gregoria " (1988), and the NAJE Award for Flute and Saxophone Performance (1986).

Presently, Aaron serves as an active member of the Hawaii Recording Academy (HARA) and the National Recording Academy (NARAS). And for the past 12 years, he has been a BMI writer and publisher.

In 2001, Aaron Aranita and Eastbound released "One Day," a new CD of 14 of Aaron's original tunes performed by Aaron and some of Hawaii's finest musicians.

2005 marks the release of Aaron's third CD, 14 instrumental tunes, "Don't Stop the Feeling".

Aaron is a person who has never stopped learning, who is always seeking to broaden his horizons, and who has dedicated himself to his craft.


Born in Recife, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, Beto began his career as a professional musician and moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1965, where he played with the major musicians and singers of the Bossa Nova era. He studied at Escola Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro and at Berklee School of Music in Boston.
He has toured, recorded and played in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, Japan, and Macao, with artists such as: Hazel Scott, Sadao Watanabe, Naoya Matsuoka, Shigeharu Mukai, Kazumi Watanabe, Hidefumi Toki, Lisa Ono, Kiyoshi Hasegawa, Guilherme Franco, Joe Ford, Dave Kikosky, Claudio Roditi, Bob Mintzer, Dom Um Romão, Bill Watrous, James Levi, Tommy Campbell.

In 1995 Beto recorded, composed and arranged for the band Nova Bossa Nova for the CD of the same name.

Beto has resided in Nagoya, Japan since 1977 where he teaches bass, arranging and Brazilian Ensemble at Nagoya Visual Arts School

Rogerio Araujo,
an active session drummer from Brazil, residing in Hawaii. He has been
backing up acts such as Sa & Guarabira (as a member of their band from 1992 to 1994)
and Gonzaguinha Junior(1996), having also performed internationally in New York with
Juarez Moreira(1987), and with Leo Gandelman (1997). Araujo also participated in the
JVC Jazz Festival at the Art Institute in New York. He accompanied Claudio Zoli in
Spain (1993) and Déborah Blando in Miami (1997). Araujo also has backed up musicians like Nivaldo Ornelas, and Arthur Maia. From 1989 to 1983, he was the drummer
and percussionist of the group Los Brujos, formed by George Platero in Argentina,
among others. He also performed with Jazz musicians in Hawaii from 1997 to 2005,
participating in the recording of the Aaron Aranita CD, Cheryl Bartlett and others.
Rogerio Araujo started playing music at 12, learning the drums. At fifteen he joined Zé
Renato and Cláudio Nucci in Grupo Agora, which performed in schools in Rio de Janeiro. Araujo studied at the Villa-Lobos public school of music, also taking private
classes with American drummer