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Pop / Rock 09/07/2015

Aaron Comess And The Air Conditioned Gypsies Return To Rockwood In NYC On 7/27 For 'Double Drummer' Improv Concert

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Aaron Comess And The Air Conditioned Gypsies Return To Rockwood In NYC On 7/27 For 'Double Drummer' Improv Concert
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Aaron Comess and The Air Conditioned Gypsies Return to Rockwood in NYC on 7/27 for 'Double Drummer' Improv Concert

In Addition to Comess on Drums, Concert will Feature JoJo Mayer on Drums, Chris Morrissey on Bass, Brandon Ross on Guitar and Leon Gruenbaum on the Samchillian -- an instrument he invented himself

13-Page Feature in Recent Issue of DrumHead Magazine
Drummer Aaron Comess builds on his recent series of standing room only NYC concerts as he returns on July 27th for an 'improv' instrumental show with his experimental band, Aaron Comess and The Air Conditioned Gypsies. The free event, at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, is set for 10:30pm and will include a double drum focus of Comess alongside Jojo Mayer. Other musicians will be Chris Morrissey on Bass, Brandon Ross on Guitar and Leon Gruenbaum on the Samchillian -- an instrument he invented himself.

Comess comments, "I've been putting shows together with The Air Conditioned Gypsies dating back over 10 years. The concept is to put different groups of musicians together and improvise but to keep things short like a song rather than a long jam. This band concept is an opportunity for me to call up my favorite creative musicians to do a set of improvisations. I've always loved this approach. The Air Conditioned Gypsies has been a great avenue to do so with different hand picked groups of my favorite musicians that I think would work well together. There are so many amazing people to choose from in NYC…it's one of the reasons I love living here…it's a constant inspiration, and that is what this group is celebrating."

Aaron Comess and The Air Conditioned Gypsies
Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 - July 27th - 10:30 pm -
Free show:
Comess adds:
"This is my 2nd show of an ongoing series I will be doing every 4-6 weeks with The Air Conditioned Gypsies, at Rockwood Music Hall's Stage 2. The first show, in May, was myself and Mark Guiliana on drums, Teddy Kumpel on guitar, Oli Rockberger on keyboards, Leon Greunbaum on samchillian and Jonathan Maron on bass. We had a great show and response and played to a standing room crowd.

I've always been a fan of the double drummer concept when it's the right two people, and it's something I did often growing up in Dallas where there were always so many good drummers around, we would just use two most of the time. When it works its great and when it does not it can be a disaster and not fun to do or listen to…

The results with Mark Guiliana who is one of my favorite drummers were inspired and I'm really looking forward to playing with Jojo Mayer who is one of the most innovative creative drummers on the scene for quite some time. I'm humbled to have guys like Mark and Jojo play with me."

Recently, Comess made an album to honor his heroes Miles Davis and John Coltrane, more specifically their groups of the early 1960s, and the result resonated among top jazz writers in America - earning Comess the most expansive national coverage of his solo career, including a 13-page feature in Drumhead Magazine:

In his Jazziz Magazine feature, Bill Milkowski praised, "From his genuine swing factor to his interactive instincts, he plays authentically while standing on the shoulders of the greats on this potent outing."

Will Friedwald, in a Wall Street Journal live concert preview: "Comess comes scarily close to a replication of historical recordings — tenor saxophonist Keith Loftis could pass for Coltrane on a blindfold test," and George Harris, in a recent JazzWeekly album review, buzzed, "Comess throws down the gauntlet for the best "classic" jazz album of the year."

JAZZIZ MAGAZINE - Interview Feature
By Bill Milkowski 4/2015
As a member of the multi-platinum '90 funk-rock jam band Spin Doctors, drummer Aaron Comess had few opportunities to showcase his jazz side. But his background is solidly in jazz, from his studies at an arts magnet high school in Dallas, where trumpeter Roy Hargrove was a classmate, to his year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and subsequent two years at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, where he came under the tutelage of such mentors as Jim Hall, Reggie Workman and saxophonist and New School founder Arnie Lawrence while also studying privately with Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdie and Victor Lewis.

It was during his tenure at The New School that Comess formed Spin Doctors with fellow students Chris Barron and Eric Schenkman. And while the band became full-fledged rock stars (they were on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1993), Comess never stopped playing jazz. "All through my 24 years of living in New York, I've consistently done jazz gigs either leading my own bands or playing in other people's bands," he says. "But it's been pretty much under the radar."

For his fourth recording as a leader, the drummer reconnects with his jazz roots while paying tribute to his drumming hero Elvin Jones. "When I discovered John Coltrane's music in high school, I was immediately attracted to the way Elvin played," Comess recalls. "He's got such an aggressive kind of rolling, swinging style that I was just mesmerized by it. Since moving to New York City in 1988, I caught him every chance I could, maybe 10 times or more. And every single time it was just incredible. He was a guy who kept his energy flowing till the day he died, which is something to really admire."

Recorded live at Smoke with saxophonist Keith Loftis, pianist Barney McAll, bassist Richard Hammond and guitarist Teddy Kumpel, Aaron Comess Quintet is the drummer's fourth instru- mental release and his jazziest to date. Along with the Monkish original "Catskills Last Waltz" and an inventive 12/8 take on Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," Comess and crew tackle the imposing Coltrane anthem "Resolution" (from A Love Sumpreme) with fero- cious intensity while bringing that same kind of heightened energy to the drummer's own probing composition "Africa."

"When I play jazz, I want to play it authentically," says Comess. "I don't want to sound like a rock drummer playing jazz, just as I don't want to sound like a jazz drummer when I'm playing rock. I always have a deep respect for whatever form of music it is that I'm playing."

From his genuine swing factor to his interactive instincts, he plays authentically while standing on the shoulders of the greats on this potent outing.

The Wall Street Journal - Concert Preview

The veteran rock 'n' roll drummer of the Spin Doctors premieres a jazz project of a personal nature. Titled simply "Aaron Comess Quintet," the album celebrates the tunes and the semi-free, modal improvisation pioneered by both the Miles Davis and John Coltrane ensembles of the early 1960s. At times, Mr. Comess comes scarily close to a replication of historical recordings—tenor saxophonist Keith Loftis could pass for Coltrane on a blindfold test. However, the quintet reinterprets Miles Davis without the benefit of a trumpet, and the presence of guitar, which neither Davis nor Coltrane used at the time, gives the rhythm section a different enough feel. The opener, "Resolution," sounds like an earlier unheard alternate take from "A Love Supreme," but the closer, "Freedom Jazz Dance," makes that Eddie Harris tune sound more like Davis playing "Gingerbread Boy."

JazzWeekly - CD Review
By George Harris 4/9/15
VINTAGE! Drummer Aaron Comess throws down the gauntlet for the best "classic" jazz album of the year with this disc of originals and modal standards with Keith Loftis/ts-ss, Barney McAll/p, Richard Hammond/b and Teddy Kumpel/g. The band has a hip coherent feel, and take on some heavy material from Coltrane at the get go with Hammond's bluesy bass leading into a flowing rhythm like a rising dust storm that leads into a slightly mellow and subdued read of "Africa" which has Loftis' sax slowly brings up to a migration rather than the original stampede. The read of "Resolution" has the tenor going mano a mano with the leader, whle a funky and fun herky jerk develops on "Catskills Last Waltz." Comess makes the rhythm team create shifting sands on the moody "Freedom Jazz Dance" and form little ripples for McAll and Kumpel on the evocative and alluring "Ode To Atilla." An ode to Miles Davis' ESP band has the band strut through "Intangible" with some spry and slinky piano work along with Loftis thick tenor. This is a delight for fans of when acoustic and adventurous jazz was still lyrical and meaningful.

JazzPolice - Concert preview
SomethingElseReviews -
Exclusive Song Premiere 2/6/15, By Nick DeRiso
Aaron Comess, "Resolution" from Aaron Comess Quintet
The Record-Journal, Meriden, CT -
CD REVIEW - 1/14/15, By Jim Paskinski
More about Comess' recent album:
This is a traditional jazz project, recorded live on-stage over the course of three sets and featuring Keith Loftis on sax (Roy Hargrove, Michael Carvin,) Barney McAll on piano (Gary Bartz, Kenny Garrett, Jimmy Cobb,) Richard Hammond on upright bass (Patti Austin, Angelique Kidjo,) Teddy Kumpel on guitar (Martha Redbone) and Comess on drums.

The album is a combination of original compositions by Comess and one by Loftis, as well as covers of 'Resolution' by John Coltrane, 'Freedom Jazz Dance' by Eddie Harris and made famous by Davis…and more. The collection is highlighted by its contrasting tracks -- 'Africa' is intense, melodic and truly memorable, and then 'Catskills Last Waltz' shifts to a completely different vibe, humorous, witty, nostalgic...'Intangible' is smoky and kinda sexy, and 'Resolution' soars...

'Aaron Comess Quintet' marks Comess' fourth solo instrumental release and his first to be described as "pure jazz instrumental". His 2013 'Blues For Use' had more of an overt rock vibe, and 2011's 'Beautiful Mistake' was somewhere in between. 'Aaron Comess Quintet' was recorded live, in front of an audience, at Smoke Jazz in NYC.

Comess' headlining appearances have previously been previewed in The New York Times, Time Out NY, Modern Drummer and elsewhere, and he has long ties to jazz and Blues. Aaron has played with such greats as Roy Hargrove, Brad Meldau, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Roswell Rudd, Arnie Lawrence, Deanna Kirk and more. Nate Chinen has shown support for Comess' shows over the years, saying "Comess has long been a jazz adept." As a member of the group New York Electric Piano (for the past 12 years,) Comess and band-mates scored a Top 10 jazz album with their most recent CD. Comess is currently studying with legendary drum master Michael Carvin.

More background info:
In other news, Comess recently completed work on an upcoming Rachael Yamagata record, produced by John Alagia. He has also finished work on an Edie Brickell record, recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin and produced by Charlie Sexton, as well as an upcoming James Maddock album. He looks forward to a New York Electric Piano record, to be out soon, and will also perform on upcoming tour dates with Spin Doctors (he is a founding member,) Joan Osborne and Maddock. In May, Ruf Records released a Spin Doctors CD/DVD Collection, 'Live From the Road'.

Comess recently appeared on legendary jazz trombonist's Roswell Rudd's record...and played a sold-out concert with him at le poisson rouge (other noted musicians on the record and show were John Medeski, Steven Bernstein, Bob Dorough and Fay Victor).

Aaron Comess also happens to be the drummer and a founding member of the multi-platinum-selling SPIN DOCTORS. The band recently released an acclaimed album of original Blues music, 'If the River Was Whiskey,' which earned the best reviews of their career and was featured in such A-level outlets as CONAN (TBS-TV), USA Today, Elmore Magazine, M Music & Musicians Magazine, RELIX Magazine, NY Observer, Time Out NY and much more.

Comess is a musician's musician, long respected as a collaborator who has played on, co-written and/or produced over two hundred albums with an acclaimed and diverse roster of artists including Osborne, Edie Brickell, Isaac Hayes, Marc Cohn, Bilal, Rachael Yamagata, James Maddock, and more. Other upcoming and/or recent work includes Phil Ramone, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Malcolm Burn and Natasha Bedingfield. Comess is active in the local NYC rock, jazz, experimental music scenes and singer songwriter circuits, and records and produces at his 'His House Studio' in Brooklyn. Comess has successfully navigated the tricky music industry for over 20 years, managing to keep his original band (Spin Doctors) together, build an active career as a sideman/session player/producer, and make his own records as a composer/leader. With his 2015 jazz album he shines as a songwriter and continues to distinguish himself and expand his repertoire.

Visit Comess' eclectic Discography to get a sense of the wide range of projects he's been involved with over the years, from Chris Whitley's final album to Joan Osborne's 'Righteous Love' to a dozen releases as a member of Spin Doctors:


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