Reviews

Ordinary Lives | Reviews

Jazz Journal (Gary Booth)  *****
  • Irwin and the guys achieve the perfect balance, making eery, Twilit music that lingers long in the mind.  An understated little gem.
Christian Science Monitor
  • Alto saxophonist and composer Aaron Irwin shines in his latest CD, Ordinary Lives. For anyone who treasures the elegant line of the solo sax, this album is a lovely treat. It showcases original tunes that work with the simple elegance of well-done ensemble acoustic music.
Time Out New York
  • Aaron Irwin, a postbop altoist whose compositions successfully embody a sophisticated-pop sensibility, gigs in support of his engaging latest, Ordinary Lives.

New York Times (Chinen)

  • The poised young alto saxophonist Aaron Irwin has a new album, “Ordinary Lives,” that showcases his affinity for the melodic sweep of indie-rock, among other things. 
Steve Futterman
  • Just when you think you know what direction Aaron Irwin is going to aim for, he throws you a brilliant curve ball. Melodic and expressive above all, Ordinary Lives delivers the kind of musical jolt we can all use these days.

Vicious World: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright | Reviews

Allaboutjazz.com (David Wayne)
“Finally, where Vicious World Plays The Music of Rufus Wainwright really succeeds is how well it puts across Wainwright’s elegant music to a listening audience that may well know little or nothing about the singer/songwriter. It’s almost certain, however, that many will want to check out Wainwright’s music after hearing this CD.”
JazzTimes (Bill Milkowski)
“This inventive New York based septet interprets material by the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright with some surprising results. Violinist Eliza Cho and cellist Maria Jeffers create mesmerizing accompaniment alongside Frisell-ian guitarist Sebastian Noelle.”
NewMusicBox.org (Molly Sheridan)
“Irwin [and McDonald] have assembled a sort of jazz chamber ensemble consisting of himself (saxophone/clarinet/flute), Matt McDonald (trombone), Sebastian Noelle (guitar), Thomson Kneeland (bass), Danny Fisher (drums), Eliza Cho (violin), and Maria Jeffers, (cello). The resulting performances add a new timbral palette and tight, well-considered improvisations into the mix. As an album, the tracks hang together as a beautiful songbook, contemporary without ever feeling gimmicky. Most importantly, perhaps, these musicians succeed in selling their argument that the source material for new standards is rich and waiting.”
Jazmusic.com (C.J. Bond)
“The gripping insights and revelations that flow from the CD: Vicious WorldPlays the Music of Rufus Wainright; Wainright’s prodigious abilities and genius as a lyrical songwriter, which have led to a comparison with the preeminent America songwriter, Cole Porter, insist that his work and that of Vicious World, be examined carefully, and taken very seriously.”
Allaboutjazz.com (Andrew J. Sammut)
“Wainwright’s music never lets too much light (or lightness) in, and Vicious World’s probing solos and clever arrangements create a canvas from multiple shades of darkness. Let’s just say the septet is moved to musical tears by the singer/songwriter’s earnest melodies and bittersweet harmonies.”

Blood And Thunder | Reviews

Downbeat Magazine ***1/2 (John Ephland) Jan. 2009
“This smart set of tunes balances alto and tenor with guitar in some great musical conversations.”
Jazz Times Magazine (Bill Milkowski) Dec. 2008
“This winning disc works on many levels…His compositional style skillfully blends sophisticated harmonies and counterpoint with an engaging melodicism that sticks with the listener…”
Jazz Review Magazine (Jim Weir) Nov. 2008
“Here’s something. No grand-standing; no God-bothering; no dour abstractions or bland parsing of the harmonic code; instead an album of the purest and most delightful melody. Irwin looks like he just won the science prize at high school, but he plays like a bruised angel…I earnestly suggest you track this one down. If it doesn’t delight and move you, you might find that you actually died in the night.”
Jazzwise Magazine *** (Robert Shore)
“It’s neither avant-garde nor self-consciously innovative, but that doesn’t stop Aaron Irwin’s second outing as leader from being a gently dazzling affair in a straight ahead kinda way. That’s partly because, though still only 30, the US altoist is a composer of distinction, and the seven (out of nine) originals here all display an admirable fund of melodic invention…”
Blogcritics Magazine (Jordan Richardson)
Blood and Thunder is a courageous and crisp jazz record. It is appealing, absorbing, and affectionate. Irwin’s command over the music is immaculate, as he leads his group through his harmonious universe with the style and grace of a truly great musician. His original compositions are astonishing in their beauty and his work with a pair of classics is similarly stunning.” (blogcritics.org)
Irish Times **** (Ray Comiskey)
“A gifted crafsman, Irwin, as composer, soloist and leader, defines this impressive album.” (irishtimes.com)
IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation (Rotcod Zzaj)
“This is high-talent & energy at it‘s best… gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears!” (zzaj.freehostia.com)
EJazz News (George W. Carroll)
“This is a guy with a unique signature plus a definite singular personal dimension with what he sends out to us artistically.” ejazznews.com
AllAboutJazz.com (Dan McClenaghan)
This is an especially fine set by a talented up-and-coming artist who put together a great band for this outing.” allaboutjazz.com

Into The Light | Reviews

The New Yorker – Jazz Notes – Best of 2006! (Steve Futterman)
“Irwin is a lyrical alto saxophonist and a compelling original composer, as well as a canny bandleader. Unconcerned about sharing space on his dèbut with another horn player, Irwin calls on the seasoned tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, and their interplay injects subtle tension into imaginative interpretations of Porter‘s “So in Love” and even “All the Things You Are.” (newyorker.com)
Jazz Times (Forrest Dylan Bryant)
“Time is elastic in Aaron Irwin‘s universe, expanding and contracting capriciously. As Irwin‘s lithe, straightforward alto sax playing jostles with Rich Perry‘s resilient tenor, Ryan Scott‘s moody guitar and the mercurial rhythm section, his tunes melt like Dali‘s watches, with each soloist allowed to redefine the tempo at will…it also generates thoughtful dialogues, crunchy little grooves and moments of great emotive power.”
All Music Guide **** (Scott Yanow)
“Whether floating out-of-tempo or swinging hard, Irwin‘s music is full of surprises and is consistently unpredictable. This CD grows in interest with each listen and is highly recommended.”
Irish Times *** (Ray Comiskey)
“He‘s come up with an album of notable charm and intimacy.”
Jazzreview.com
“The best, though, is the leader‘s low-keyed fantasia on “So in Love.” In the Cole Porter classic, the saxes trade lovely phrases in chamber group fashion. Scott‘s guitar accents in the background and Ritchie‘s cymbal work contribute much to the transcendent beauty of the piece. This CD should indeed put Irwin and his group into the light.” (jazzreview.com)
Allaboutjazz.com (Budd Kopman)
“Still shy of thirty, Aaron Irwin has very mature musical instincts and an eclectic taste, with playing that is rhythmically quite free and unpredictable and compositions with a broad stylistic range.” (allaboutjazz.com)
Cadence Magazine Oct. 2006 (Derek Taylor)
“The two horns align particularly well over the lush opening harmonies of “The Point,” sailing atop a fluttering backdrop of gentle thrumming bass, guilded guitar chords, and rippling drum patter. Following a beautiful extended statement from Perry, Irwin‘s closing solo on the piece delivers some of his most impassioned and freer leaning playing of the set against Scott‘s mewling whale song tones…Irwin‘s recording career is just getting rolling, but the merits of this well rounded release single him out as one to watch in the future.”
George W. Carroll/The Musicians’ Ombudsman
“I remember my first impression after imbibing the soft, mellow, but ‘utterly attached to the jazz idiom’ sound of this young turk, Aaron Irwin…….And, saying…..Yea!! This is a jazz artist we must reckon with. Aaron Irwin & his sax are here to stay. His delivery can sound bitter & sweet……soft & strained……..Even pure & distorted…….All from the backdrop of someone well trained in his craft. My sense is Aaron relies on spontaneity to such an extent that he can imbue a performance with ups & downs that engender us with a sense of wonder. All in all, this project is a study in ‘stylistic freshness’ in real time.” (ejazznews.com)