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Bay Area Bassist Aaron Germain to Release Debut CD "Before You Go" 4/27 & Headline Coda SF 5/13
(Published: March 24, 2010)

After ten years of working as a first-call sideman with some of the Bay Area's finest practitioners of styles ranging from jazz to salsa to Brazilian forro, bassist Aaron Germain has finally carved out some time for his own music. He's preparing to release his debut CD, Before You Go, on April 27, and plans to showcase the new music at a special CD release event at Coda in San Francisco on Thursday, May 13.

The strikingly varied new CD, which Germain calls "a jazz album with diverse influences," is self-produced and features the bassist's own compelling compositions. He worked primarily with a stellar quartet consisting of pianist Matt Clark, saxophonist Sheldon Brown, and drummer Bryan Bowman, versatile musicians who are "great jazz players and well-versed in other styles, so they can bring an original approach to jazz," says Germain.

Clark and Brown will be on hand at Coda, along with drummer Jeff Marrs (who's featured on one track of the new CD). Special guest vocalist Paula West, whom Germain has frequently accompanied, will perform a couple of songs with the band. "It's been an honor to work with Paula over the years," says Germain. "She is an incredibly unique and strong performer who can carry her audience, and the musicians she is playing with, to a whole other place. I also love her choice of repertoire." Germain anticipates playing Oscar Brown Jr.'s "The Snake" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Waters of March" with Paula at the Coda show.

Aaron's former teacher and mentor Yusef Lateef has praised his bass playing as "virile and creative"; and in an early review from AllAbout Jazz.com, John Barron writes that "Germain's rousing compositional skills are a delight.... Before You Go is an exciting session deserving of wide recognition." The Coda show will provide Bay Area audiences an opportunity to become better acquainted with this inventive and accomplished young musician and his music.

Aaron Germain, 33, was born in Cambridge, Mass., and started on classical guitar at 15. But before he was out of high school, he'd already been drawn to the bass and the sounds of Jaco Pastorius and Paul Jackson. While studying music at Hampshire College, he came into the orbit of the pioneering jazz multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, who hired the 19-year-old bassist for a gig.

"It was a pivotal moment for me," Germain recalls. "Playing with a legendary musician of Yusef's stature was an exciting and intimidating opportunity, but I felt that I rose to the occasion and reached another level. Lateef often said that creativity is defined by taking chances. By putting aside fear of failure and by taking risks, you can discover new ideas. That's something I took away from him."

In 2000, Aaron relocated to the Bay Area, drawn by the presence of master Afro-Caribbean percussionists Michael Spiro and Jesus Diaz. With his wide-ranging interests and formidable chops, Germain quickly became an in-demand player, sometimes working two or three gigs a day -- in salsa ensembles, and with Caribbean steel pan or Brazilian bands. He backed Indian kathak dancers and Trinidadian calypso singers. And he was always ready to tackle harmonically dense, odd-meter jazz compositions.

Aaron's biggest source of inspiration in recent years has been his wife Miho Oyasu, a native of Kyoto. Through their marriage he has been blessed with family and friends in Japan and a window into the country's unique culture. With frequent visits, performances, and continued, diligent study of the language, Aaron continues to develop connections in Japan's lively music scene.

The release of Before You Go is likely to focus increased attention on Germain's formidable skills as a player and a writer. Although he's not necessarily looking to take on the full-time responsibilities of leading a band, he says, "I'm looking forward to seeing some exciting new possibilities open up through this album."

More Information: http://www.aarongermain.com

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