Aaron Aranita Segunda Vista
A veteran arranger-composer who is also a fine saxophonist, Aaron Aranita has performed in a wide variety of settings throughout his career. Segunda Vista casts him as the writer for the Brent Fischer Orchestra, contributing eight of his inventive originals.
Brent Fischer (bassist and son of the late great arranger Clare Fischer) heads a big band filled with some of Southern California's top musicians including such soloists as trumpeters Carl Saunders, Ron Stout and Ron Schaer, Alex Budman on alto and soprano, tenor-saxophonists Tom Peterson and Kirsten Edkins, and keyboardist Quinn Johnson. They handle Aranita's arrangements flawlessly and swing throughout no matter what the tempo and mood.
The opener, "Sea Dreams," features Brent Fischer on bass playing the theme along with the horns. Fischer, Peterson and Saunders take fine solos during this episodic work before it ends peacefully. "Coracao Da Natureza" is dedicated to Antonio Carlos Jobim and is inspired a bit by his "Waters of March" (with hints of "Out of Nowhere"). "Fischer Sketch," which is in 5/4 time, is Aranita's dedication to Clare Fischer who he considers one of his main influences. Budman's alto solo over a lengthy one-chord vamp is a highlight.
"Sierra Leone" is a bit stormy and a little funky. The powerful piece features altoist Budman and Saunders and was written in memory of the long civil war that that country suffered through. "Epifanio," a piece with strong forward momentum, has Aranita's only appearance on the CD, taking an excellent soprano solo. He should have soloed more on this set. "Segunda Vista," a continually evolving piece, has some excellent soprano playing by Budman. The passionate "Bells" is a bit reminiscent of John Coltrane in its chord structure. The heated solos from Budman (on soprano) and Edkins flow naturally out of the dense ensembles. The closer, "Never Far From My Heart," is a beautiful melody written for Aranita's late parents that is both memorable and haunting.
Fans of modern big bands will certainly enjoy Aaron Aranita's creative writing and the playing of the Brent Fischer Orchestra throughout Segunda Vista, an easily recommended set.
About Aaron Aranita:
Aaron Aranita’s interest in music began at an early age in Hawaii while listening to relatives performing on local TV and radio or at parties, or taking in his parents’ large collection of LPs of musicals, popular hits, and ethnic and classical music. He began playing the clarinet in grade school and then switched to the bass and piano and started composing in high school. He eventually became the bassist for Hawaii’s first All State High School Select Jazz Band in 1973.
After hearing Gabe Balthazar play alto sax at a Burt Bacharach concert, Aaron switched to alto and soon began performing in various bands in Honolulu while studying music at Leeward Community College. He later moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music where he studied saxophone with Joe Viola and composition and performance with Phil Wilson, Andy Jaffe, Greg Hopkins, and George Garzone.
In the mid-80’s, Aaron moved to the Bay Area in California where, notably, he performed and recorded his original music with his own group, Eastbound. He returned to Hawaii in the 90’s and began performing as a woodwind player for visiting and local artists such as Andy Williams, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Bob Hope and Don Tiki, and as a keyboard player for artists such as Valery Ponomarev, Ka Lei O Kalani, Bobby Watson, Delfeayo Marsalis, and The Hot Club of Hulaville.
He is also known for his composing and arranging, and besides writing for various Hawaii artists, he writes for international performers such as Pete Christlieb and Carl Saunders. Since his 1987 album, Eastbound, he has recorded eight CDs of his compositions. His latest CD, Segunda Vista (2017), features his original songs and arrangements played by the Brent Fischer Orchestra.