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Band Jazz Punk


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"Welcome to ou world by Stuart Nicholson"

Welcome to our world

Jazz was the great American art form of the twentieth century. Now everyone else is muscling in. Stuart Nicholson picks six of the best of the new breed breaking free from the code.

Welcome to our world, jazz, OMM
Clockwise from top left: Arve Henriksen; Matthew Bourne; Solveig Slettahjell; Aron Ottignon; Alexi Tuoramilla; The Bad Plus. Photographs: Andy Hall.

It has been a while but, at long last, subtlety and nuance are taking precedence over power and bombast. Or so it would appear, if these up-and-coming young jazz musicians are anything to go by. Taken together, they represent an enticing snapshot of the changing face of jazz in the new millennium.

Without anyone really noticing, jazz has become discreetly hip and these young musicians are part of the reason why. They represent a refreshing breeze of change blowing through a music that once sounded like a tormented brain puzzle, the sort of stuff Julie Burchill called 'a whole pile of notes in search of a melody'.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, the New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon was inspired as a youngster by Maori rhythms. In his neck of the woods an American musician was a rare sight, so he worked out his own approach to jazz inspired by records and the culture around him. His Australia debut, in 1999, was the stuff of legend. 'Aron was an unknown quantity when he made the finals of the National Jazz Awards here ,' recalls Adrian Jackson , the Wangaratta festival's artistic director. 'Nobody expected a 16-year-old from New Zealand to play with such absolute confidence and energy and poise. I think it was obvious to everyone that a major new talent had arrived.'

Six years on, Ottignon is serving notice that he is, potentially at least, one of the finest pianists in jazz.

""Ottignon is serving notice that he is, potentially at least, one of the finest pianists in jazz""

" Ottignon is serving notice that he is, potentially at least, one of the finest pianists in jazz " - The Guardian - Stuart Nicholson

"'deserves galaxies of stars in our ratings system'"

'Time Out' Critics Choice - EAST FESTIVAL, LONDON

'deserves galaxies of stars in our ratings system' - Sydney Morning Herald

‘Not only is he a stunning player, but he’s a stunningly original player’

-Stuart Nicholson, Observer Music Monthly Magazine - Sydney Morning Herald

""Ottignon is a world-class musician. His brand of testosterone-fuelled, Rachmaninov-goes-jazz playing will take your breath away ""

"Ottignon is a world-class musician. His brand of testosterone-fuelled, Rachmaninov-goes-jazz playing will take your breath away "
- Edinburgh Festival Review, The Scotsman
- - Edinburgh Festival Review, The Scotsman

"'Aronas make........big gestures, fat sounds and monster grooves'"

'Aronas make........big gestures, fat sounds and monster grooves'

- The Guardian

- - The Guardian


Culture Tunnels, 2nd album : mixing in progress



“This just might be the start of something big” John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald.

ARONAS is the project of award-winning musician Aron Ottignon. Dubbed as “punk jazz” the music is an explosive combination of live dance, jazz and South Pacific influenced grooves. The band draw on varied and strong influences from Rock, Soul, Electronica and Funk but their music is “so original, they deserve a galaxy of stars and may yet cleave a path through the prevailing mediocrity for many others to follow.” Sydney Morning Herald.

New Zealand born, Sydney-based Aron Ottignon is only 24, but “he has already developed a boldly original approach to composition and performance. Some of his tunes are built around strong melodic hooks that have the instant appeal of a cleverly constructed pop song. Others hang on the barest of harmonic pegs and are instead pinned to an insistent, pulsating rhythm (or series of rhythms). Silvery piano melodies, thumping bass riffs, rolling rhythms, and spiky, sometimes ferocious percussion breaks.” Jessica Nichols, The Age.

The young ages of the group defy their industry experience and make ARONAS a formidable line up. It has lead one reviewer to state their music is “too good to be true.” Sally Brand.

Recent gigs by ARONAS (Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Sydney’s Cockatoo Island Music Festival...) “have shown the group to be one of the most tightly knit, inventive and infectious groove/instrumental bands to have emerged on the Australia scene in recent history” Drum Media.

The debut album, “Culture Tunnels”, is further evidence of this. Utilising the two drum/bass format, there is an enormous diversity of rhythmic ideas, and the group draws on everything, from dirty punk-rock sounds to earthy bluesy feels, to funk grooves. These are married with lyrical melodies, penned and played by young piano prodigy Aron Ottignon and, most importantly, delivered with a fresh, intense energy and unity of sound. Every song is a journey, and there is that constant and most satisfying feeling of not quite knowing where the players will next take their ideas.

ARONAS understand the art of mastering its audience through the gradual building and release of tension in a skill that is becoming all too rare amongst dance orientated live groups. The band has already gained a cult following through strong and passionate live performances.

Heralded as the new ‘jazz wizard’ by the Sunday Telegraph, Ottignon can spot a rut a mile off, and the music business is furrowed with them. Rather than getting stuck in one, Ottignon found inspiration in relatively untapped musical waters. Those waters were the log-drumming music of the South Pacific, which Ottignon heard while growing up in Auckland. The same musical odyssey led the pianist to record with his own jazz trio at the age of 14 and to be awarded the 2003 Bells Award Best Young Australian Jazz Musician of the Year. There is no doubt Aron is Australia’s very own jazz prodigal son.

“ARONAS is clearly one of the most dynamic groups to have emerged on the Australian live scene over the past couple of years. The musicians are all consummate instrumentalists of mind-blowing prowess, but also commanded by an innate sense of musicality.” Jasmine Crittendon, Drum Media.

Aron Ottignon moved in London in 2006 to discover a new world, to meet new musicians, new cultures... He has assembled other like-minded souls in Dubois – the N°1 U.K steel pan' player that he met in London Jamaïcan Carnaval, who input Caraïbean roots in ARONAS' music -, Fyffe and Brown who have studied anything and everything in their search for creative satisfaction. ARONAS toured all over Europe, gave incredible performances in Roskilde festival, Monte Carlo Jazz festival, Jazz des 5 Continents in Marseille, Warsaw Jazz festival or Nancy Jazz Pulsations where they have been invited 2 years in a row.