Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Rising Drummer Aaron Seeber's Album FIRST MOVE Is Out Today

First Move kicks off with "Brandyn", a composition by the great Al Foster.

Rising Drummer Aaron Seeber's Album FIRST MOVE Is Out Today

Drummer Aaron Seeber has released his electrifying debut album as a bandleader, First Move, today via Cellar Music Group. Joined by vibraphonist Warren Wolf, alto saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist Ugonna Okegwo, Seeber and his apt crew recorded First Move at Ornithology Jazz Club in Brooklyn back in 2021, capturing a dazzling ingenuity between five talents at play. Seeber's conviction and nuance pervades the record, playing selections by timeless luminaries including Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus mixed with modern legends such as Geri Allen and Mulgrew Miller.

Though it is his debut, First Move is anything but Seeber's beginning at the bandstand. He hails from Washington D.C., where he watched saxophonist Tim Green perform and was eventually hired by him to play gigs. With over a decade of bandstand experience now under his belt, Seeber continues to rise today on the New York Jazz scene. His quintet on First Move is an an all-star assembly, all of whom the young drummer has a history of playing alongside.

Many of Seeber's first major performances were with Green, including weekends at the legendary Bohemian Caverns club where Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and many others appeared. It was on a Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra date that Seeber first played with and met vibraphonist Warren Wolf, a native of Baltimore. Seeber credits Wolf for his first opportunity to travel and perform abroad during a tour of Europe in 2015. Seeber's long association with the incomparable pianist Sullivan Fortner began at New York City's Fat Cat in the band of trumpeter Greg Glassman. Bassist Ugonna Ukegwo and Seeber began playing several years ago and are frequently heard together in pianist Pete Malinverni's trio.

First Move kicks off with "Brandyn", a composition by the great Al Foster. Seeber plays it here with urgency and fervor; "Brandyn" has a sentimental memory for the drummer, as it became his theme song at his long-standing residency at Smalls Jazz Club. The effervescent drum groove on the introduction sets the tone for the performance, with Wolf and Green digging into their solos with unmistakable relish. On "Eleventh Hour," Seeber pays tribute to the great Mulgrew Miller. Wolf and Green, drawing on their years of tenure with Miller, take fiery solos over the late master's changes. Seeber's extended drum solo demonstrates his facility around the kit, and astute listeners will notice an homage to drummer Billy Hart in some of these rumbling figures.

The bandleader's original composition "First Move" harkens back to the mysterious and propulsive sound of Wayne Shorter's music as heard with the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s. Featuring a modal burn at the top with a brief release in triple time, Green and Wolf turn in maximalist solo improvisations while the drummer gets some and more on the outro. The quintet displays its quiet intensity and nuance with Geri Allen's "Unconditional Love", featuring tasteful solos from Fortner and Wolf as well as a river of shimmering drumming from Seeber. The live recording concludes with the Charlie Parker classic "Klactoveedsedstene". This bright-tempoed, energetic bebop exploration ends the album on a high, displaying the stunning facility of five players expertly-steeped in the language of bebop and the blues.

First Move is a showcase of both Aaron Seeber's singular sound on drums and comprehensive arranging of timeless classics. Between five master jazz practitioners, this vivacious live recording captures a snapshot of the vitality of the jazz idiom and further cements Seeber's position as a rising jazz luminary.

Related Articles View More Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You