Aaron Walker's love of music was first proven at age 6, when he saved his one dollar per week allowance long enough to purchase an electric keyboard. At age 7, his mother found him in tears when his boom box ate his favorite Michael Jackson cassette tape. This was also the year that Aaron discovered his lifelong love: guitar. In his pursuit of his own sound Aaron took music adventures through Doc Watson thumb-picking, Kurt Cobain power chords, straight up jazz, delicate classical, Trini steel drum music, playful swing, and dirty bluegrass. After roaming the musical landscape for some 25 years he finally discovered Gypsy Jazz, and then discovered Gonzalo Bergara. In a moment of metaphysical crisis hearing Gonzalo for the first time Aaron realized that he was missing the unbound nature of music for decades. In this freeing realization Aaron began to freely compose for the Gypsy Jazz ensemble music that would reflect the adventure, cheekiness, and love for his wife and kids that he felt inside. While Aaron earned a MM in music composition, he considers his real music education to have come from playing along side the menagerie of international Gypsy Jazz artists he has had the privelidge to perform with, particularly his two heroes and mentors Joscho Stephan and Gonzalo Bergara. Aaron also enjoys composing music for live performances, audio recordings, and films, including a feature-length score for the Regional Emmy-nominated sports documentary, Dream Season (2012). Recently, looking for a new challenge, Aaron joined the US Coast Guard reserves.
Claude Sim enjoys a varied music career as an orchestral principal, chamber musician, and multi-genre performing artist. He was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony at age 21 by then music director Marin Alsop. He previously held an Associate Principal Violin position with the Baltimore Symphony and has served in guest artist capacities including guest Concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony, Principal Second Violin of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and section first violin with The Philadelphia Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Claude has collaborated with Jeffrey Kahane, Lee Luvisi, and Christopher O'Riley, and has also served as guest First Violin and Violist with the Miro and Pacifica Quartets. As a passionate advocate of bridging styles and bending musical genres, Claude is the solo violinist of Extasis, the Argentine tango ensemble. He has recorded a standard jazz album with trumpeter Greg Gisbert, and has shared the stage with fiddler Eileen Ivers, Warren Haynes, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Victor and Roy Wooten of the Flecktones. Sim is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Coming soon. . .
Bassist Gary Sloan has music in his blood: his father started the first blues band in the state of Alaska and continues to entertain over fifty years later. After the family relocated to a small town in rural Arkansas, Gary began performing with his father on trombone in and around Kansas City before he teaching himself electric bass and joining his father's band on bass while playing in his high school rock band. At the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Gary found his voice on the acoustic bass and served as principal in the orchestra for three years while earning his most valuable education gigging with every jazz act in town. Given his background in his father's groove-oriented improvisatory blues combined with a passion for harmony and interaction, Gary was a natural for jazz and it soon became his main outlet for expression. Gary received a Summer Jazz Scholarship from the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society (NAJS) in 2010; the next year Gary's original music was featured at the NAJS Composer's showcase and his quartet was nominated for the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards Best Jazz Group. After graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Gary taught up to 40 students a week on guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, and ukulele at a local music store. Gary could also be found performing with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, the pit orchestra for TheatreSquared musical productions, and a wide range rock, funk, and blues bands. In 2013 he moved to Boulder, CO to pursue a Master's of Music in Jazz Performance & Pedagogy at the University of Colorado. The vibrant, supportive jazz community has kept him busy in Boulder, Denver, Ft. Collins and surrounding areas performing all eras of jazz from the 1900s to today. Additionally, he continued to expand his wide musical interests with CenterStage musical productions, the Boulder Symphony, bluegrass groups, and more. He currently plays electric bass for a number of blues band including Roots & Rhythm as well wedding/dance bands and Wildflower School of Voice. He remains active on both slide and valve trombones in swing/hot jazz groups and has recently added tuba to his repertoire, performing with the Colorado Conservatory for Jazz Arts Brass Band as well as his own group co-lead by David Lawrence of LAPOMPE, the Royal Street Ramblers. He performs throughout the country with Joe Smith & the Spicy Pickles, a 7-piece 1930s/40s jazz band, including swing dance events and jazz festivals from San Diego to upstate New York. He has had the pleasure of playing with a who's who list of international Gypsy jazz artists (including Joshcho Stephan, Gonzalo Bergara, Olli Soikkeli, Jason Anick and more) with Denver guitarist Aaron Walker; the group is released their debut album "Bounce" this spring featuring many of these guest musicians. Gary is also an active educator, teaching for the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, the Summit High School Jazz Workshop, the Gift of Jazz: Jazz for the Schools Program, as well as his own private studio. Driven by his melodic sense and rhythmic acuity and informed by his perspective as a mulit-instrumentalist, Gary's philosophy as a bassist is deep yet simple- above all else, the role of a bassist is to support his fellow musicians in a way that enhances the music to make the entire experience sound and feel its best.