May 22, 2022
Aaron Seeber is no rookie. A native of Washington D.C. and a graduate of the highly regarded jazz program at SUNY-Purchase, the drummer has been part of groups assembled by Tim Green, Pete Malverni and Warren Wolf, and hosted weekly after-hour jam sessions at Small’s in New York. First Move is the aptly titled initial release by Seeber as a bandleader, and what a band he has assembled! He repaid Green and Wolf for previous gigs by putting them in the front line, and added pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist Ugonna Ukegwo to make a swinging quintet.
Recorded live in Brooklyn at Ornithology Jazz Club on October 19, 2021, First Move is mostly hot covers of lesser-played tunes. The album kicks off in style with Al Foster’s “Brandyn,” and goes on with tunes from the likes of Bennie Golson (“Out Of The Past”), Myron Walden (“Fire Waltz”), Geri Allen (“Unconditional Love”) and Mulgrew Miller (“Eleventh Hour”). The title track is a Seeber original, written with shifting time signatures and in a style that recalls mid-Sixties Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter. Through in a Mingus and Bird tune, and you’ve got a solid set of material performed at a high level.
Podcast 904 is my conversation with Aaron, as we talk about the album, his experiences writing tunes as a drummer, and the relevance of a collegiate jazz education (literally a million dollar question, he says). Musical selections from First Move include “Brandyn” and the title track.