Wire Magazine (Stewart Smith)
- Irwin and his fellow players constantly surprise and delight. Through their subtle application of leftfield approaches, they reveal the strain of Weird America running through the project.
International Clarinet Association (Joseph Howell)
- Throughout his discography, his entire conception as a bandleader and improviser is very thoughtful and musical. His improvised solos rarely if ever rely on the familiar saxophonist habits of machine-gunned, patterned lines, staying faithful to the overall composition and mood of the material he is interpreting. His clarinet sound is beautiful and though one would not doubt his awareness of the legacies of such recent jazz clarinet personalities as Eddie Daniels and Don Byron, his approach is all his own. Perhaps being primarily a saxophonist and composer of more recent New York jazz trends has aided his having a different approach, with an outsider’s perspective. In any case, he has put in the time to develop a great ‘classical’ tone and facility on the clarinet and is no slouch on the instrument itself. Clarinet and jazz circles alike, today, often say they want to hear something new, something different. If that is truly the case, I strongly recommend listening to Aaron Irwin’s A Room Forever. It is not only different; it is beautiful.
The New York City Jazz Record (Donald Elfman)
- Irwin has created a work of gorgeous delicacy, large in scope yet intimate, adventurous but straightforward melodically and harmonically. Turn to any piece and you will find a constancy of purpose, which also allows for true distinctiveness. And Irwin and his cohorts truly understand space. This is a session where the musicians have listened deeply to each other and play in a way suggesting all have had a part in the project’s evolution. Each piece is nuanced and individual but also a part of the overall world of the stories.
Sensible Reason (Andie Castillo)
- Irwin’s highly stylized music creates sonic landscapes that can best be described as a mixture of American folk music, avant-garde jazz and pastoral elements of classical music. Each of the following pieces takes the listener on a different journey sometimes soaring, as Matt McDonald’s elegant trombone playing does in The Way It Has to Be, and sometimes sweetly reflecting, as does Irwin’s homey clarinet playing on Trilobites. The chamber music-like instrumentation quickly draws the listener into each fragile and nuanced musical world, full of space and detail as in The First Day of Winter, which features the remarkable bass work by Thomson Kneeland. Guitarist Pete McCann has much to say on the dark and jarring Time and Again. The album ends with the wonderful piece, The Mark, which leaves the listener seemingly suspended in air wanting more and grateful for the pleasure of the journey.
Bird Is The Worm (Dave Sumner)
- This striking album by clarinetist Irwin captures the ear with its captivating melodies, but the alluring ambiance developed from the melodic introduction is what cinches this as top-shelf music. Irwin bottled up moonlight on this one.
The Big City Blog
- The sound is an appealing Americana of the mind—this isn’t folk or roots music, but all the tracks sound like something that might be made on the porch or in the parlor. A quiet record that leaves a lingering impression.
All About Jazz (Bud Kopman)
- The balance between the composed and improvised is finely wrought, making the line between them virtually invisible, with the only giveaway being larger structure which is uses the familiar recapitulation…The cumulative effect of A Room Forever is a quiet intensity, almost an eavesdropping of a private conversation. Emotionally complex while being aurally transparent, the music ends up feeling like an long-gone acquaintance who has been missed, but whose newly-found presence is immediately comfortable. Strange, but wonderful.