The music scene

A ‘Turning Point’ for Miami jazz guitarist

 
Rafael Piccolotto de Lima

Music fans at the University of Miami and Florida International University might be familiar with jazz guitarist Aaron Lebos — after all, he spent four years at each school, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees respectively in jazz performance. He’s also released two CDs and performed with local stars Nicole Henry and the Spam All-Stars.

But he’s most proud of his new project, the jazz/rock foursome Aaron Lebos Reality. The band eschews standards for a fusion of jazz, funk, rock, Latin and world music, and trades the traditional upright bass and saxophone for electric bass, keyboards and guitar.

“Our sound is more rock and contemporary but still with elements of jazz as far as solos and improvisation in most of the songs,” says Lebos. “But there are more arrangements that border on rock and pop.”

ALR — featuring Lebos on guitar, Eric England on bass, Jim Gasior on keyboards and Rodolfo Zuniga on drums — takes the stage Thursday night at The Stage in Miami to celebrate the release of its second CD, Turning Point, an eight-song instrumental collection.

“It’s definitely a pretty aggressive record, although there are some tender moments,” Lebos says with a laugh. “Especially live, it’s very far from what people might consider traditional jazz.”

The band’s innovative sound has drawn comparisons to Frank Zappa and jazz supergroup Return to Forever, featuring legendary bassist Stanley Clarke and keyboardist Chick Corea. But its influences are all over the place.

“I’d say our biggest are [Jimi] Hendrix and [Led] Zeppelin, and at the same time more modern groups like Phoenix, Bloc Party and Radiohead,” Lebos says. “And we have a good amount of stuff in odd time signatures, but it’s rarely actually noticed. If it’s done the right way, like Dave Brubeck’s Take Five — it was so catchy and such a solid thing that I don’t think a lot of people even noticed that it was in 5/4. Because it just feels natural, and built around a strong groove. That’s the key.”

Lebos has his sights set higher than Miami’s live-music scene.

“We’re definitely looking to get into the festival circuit, both jazz and jam,” he says, “because that market is just so alive and healthy. There are decent routes to follow to try to cross over without sacrificing what we do, without dumbing anything down. Otherwise, we’d just put the kick drum on four-on-the-floor so everybody could dance like they’re at Club Space or something. But then what’s the point?”

The Aaron Lebos Reality performs at 9 p.m. Thursday at The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami; 305-576-9577 or www.thestagemiami.com; $5-$10.

Michael Hamersly

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Scene in the Tropics

    Sean Connery loves soccer (and Caffe Abbracci)

    Sean Connery had dinner Monday night with a group of friends at Caffe Abbracci. Connery greeted and shook hands with fans as he entered the room and was overheard chatting with restaurant owner Nino Pernetti about the World Cup, saying he regrets that his native country Scotland did not qualify and that England was eliminated in the first round. He did concede that Germany was the rightful winner. Connery also told Pernetti that what he enjoys most in life after making movies is ... soccer. The ex 007 left the restaurant, saying “Cheerio,” to the owner and his starstruck guests.

  • As seen on TV

    Starz' ‘Outlander' brings novels to life

    Prepare to bend your mind. Premiering on the Starz network on Saturday at 9 p.m., Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular novels. Claire, a lovely British Army nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is mysteriously swept from 1945 back to 1743, plopped into a strange and alien existence, including marriage to a dashing Scottish warrior, even as she struggles to return to “modern” times and the husband she left behind.

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 1

    Actor-director Geoffrey Holder is 84. Singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is 83. Blues musician Robert Cray is 61. Singer Michael Penn is 56. Singer Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is 55. Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy is 54. Rapper Coolio is 51. Singer Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is 50. Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 41. Singer Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town) is 33.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category