Four extraordinary trombonists and an internationally renowned pianist are coming to Belleville on Saturday for a evening of smooth jazz as part of Eckert’s Summer Music Festival.
Why go to the free concert?
“For the unique experience of hearing four trombones playing jazz,” said Aaron Eckert, 25. “All these nice arrangements. It’s not something you hear every day or on the radio. It will be a nice little treat.”
Aaron, who grew up on the family farm, is a trombonist and member of Trombonanza, a jazz quartet and combo that will play from 7 to 9 p.m.
Aaron, a 2009 Belleville West grad, was never far from music. His parents, Jim and Carole Eckert, are both singers who performed, along with his two sisters, in “a lot of choruses.”
“It was a big part of growing up,” Aaron said. “I got more interested in instruments as I got older.”
When Aaron is home, he makes it a point to see Tom Birkner, one of his music teachers at Belleville West.
“He’s the one who got me into jazz,” said Aaron, who recently graduated from Eastman School of Music with a master’s degrees in performance and literature for euphonium, and jazz and contemporary media on trombone.
Other members of the Trombonanza quartet are:
Mark Kellogg, associate professor of trombone, euphonium and brass chamber music at Eastman School of Music. He was also Aaron’s teacher.
James A. Martin, director of the Webster (University) Wind Ensemble and Big Band and a member of the Webster Brass Quintet. He was the bass trombonist with the Buddy Rich Big Band from 1985-87 and with the Orchestra del Maggio Musical of Florence, Italy, under Zubin Mehta from 1989-90. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Brendan Lanighan, of Buffalo, N.Y., an Eastman graduate and a finalist, with Aaron, at the International Jazz Trombone Festival. Aaron was also winner of the International Jazz Euphonium solo competition in Knoxville, Tenn., in June.
Christopher D. Azzara, professor of music education at Eastman, also will be featured. He is an accomplished pianist, arranger, author and music educator. He performs as a soloist and in various ensembles, including the Chris Azzara Quartet.
What’s next for Aaron? “I hope to get a job teaching music at a public school, probably in Oregon (where his girlfriend lives).”
Eckert’s Belleville Country Store and Farms is at 951 S. Green Mount Road, Belleville.
The musicians will also be part of a jazz gospel service at 9 Sunday morning at Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St., Belleville.