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Aaron Weinstein: About

Here you can learn everything you'd ever want to know about me and my music.  Be prepared to be riveted.

Aaron Weinstein - Bio

Aaron WeinsteinCalled “the Groucho of the violin” by Tony Bennett and “a perfect musician” by jazz guitar legend, Bucky Pizzarelli, Aaron Weinstein “is rapidly establishing himself as one of his instrument’s rare jazz masters.” (Don Heckman, International Review of Music).

As a featured soloist, Aaron has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note, and abroad at jazz festivals in England, France, Switzerland, Iceland, and Israel. Aaron has performed and recorded with an array of jazz icons including: Les Paul, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Dave Frishberg, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross as well as musicians as varied as New York Pops conductor, Skitch Henderson and rock guitarist, Jay Geils. He has written arrangements for vocalists including Christine Ebersole, Linda Lavin, and the Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel. Additionally, Aaron is a respected mandolinist, widely regarded as one of the instrument’s leading exponents in the jazz idiom.

Aaron Weinstein with Jon HendricksAaron is the recipient of a New York City Nightlife Award and New York City Bistro Award. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he was awarded a full four-year talent-based scholarship.

With the release of his Arbors Records debut, A Handful of Stars, (called “the rebirth of the hot jazz violin” by Nat Hentoff) Aaron became the youngest jazz musician to have recorded for this prestigious jazz record label. Additionally, Aaron is a bow tie rights activist. He is also lactose intolerant but can find at least one agreeable item on any restaurant menu, a feat he’s called, “my greatest talent.” Aaron lives in New York City.

Aaron Weinstein - About

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The following is an abridged transcript from Aaron's question and answer session during his performance at New York's Wave Hill concert series in March 2009. If you have questions for Aaron, visit his CONTACT page.  

Aaron WeinsteinQ: Can you tell us about your musical training?

A: Until a few years ago I never had the benefit of formal classical violin lessons. If any of you [the audience] are violinists, I'm sure you could see what kind of bad habits I have but don't tell anyone or you'll ruin the illusion that I actually know what I'm doing. From time to time I would meet with various classical violinists when I first started playing, but I was very stubborn...I still am. Of course there were musicians who really helped me get a clue and piece things together but much of my training involved listening to records, playing with other musicians and trying to figure out how this is all supposed to work.

Q: How did you fall in love with this music?

A: [to asker] It's probably the same way that you fell in love with this music...

Asker: No, I'm quite a bit older than you.

Aaron Weinstein with Les PaulAaron: Well, here's the big idea about jazz...age has nothing to do with it. While it's true that I'm often playing with people who are 20, 30...sometimes 60 years older than me, because I grew up listening to this music [jazz] just as they did, we are in the same boat in the sense that we share some musical influences. As the clarinetist, Ken Peplowski once said, the great thing about jazz is that you can have colleagues who are 20 and colleagues who are 80 and the age really makes no difference. Really, it all boils down to whether or not you can play. I'm not sure if I answered your question, but perhaps I answered someone else's.

Q: Is your instrument any different from the instrument that a classical violinist would play?

A: It's basically the same instrument that a classical violinist would play - 4 strings tuned in 5ths.

Q: Have you ever played a Stradivarius?

A: No, but I've played a Stratocaster.

Q: How long have been playing professionally?

A: Well, professional - that's a very relative term. If the question is, when did I start getting paid to play...I was about 12 years old. I was very bad but the only way to really learn this music is to perform it.

Aaron Weinstein with Bucky PizzarelliQ: It seems that you often work with Bucky Pizzarelli. How did you first get involved with him?

A: When I was about 15 years old I recorded a few songs onto a CD and sent it to John Pizzarelli...and he actually responded. He called me up and was wildly encouraging. Through John I met Bucky and played my first gig with him when I was 16 or so. The way that I've found this music to work is if the big guys - the true masters of their instruments - if they see someone come along who has a genuine interest in the music, they tend to be pretty welcoming. Fortunately, that's the way it worked with the Pizzarellis and me. I suppose they saw me as this kid who likes jazz and knows something about the history of the music and so they welcomed me and taught me a great deal.

Q: Did you study privately with Bucky?

A: No. When I say he taught me, what I mean is - well, the best way to learn is on the gig. I was very musically naive during those first gigs with Bucky. I only knew about half of the songs that he called but we all start somewhere. I did my best on those first gigs and then ran home afterwards to learn all of the songs I didn't know so I'd be ready for next time. As far as what I've learned from Bucky - well yea, he taught me songs but more importantly, Bucky and John taught me what it means to be a truly professional musician and they did this by example. Talk about an education - that's the kind of thing you just can't learn in the practice room.

What that you say?
This Q&A was fascinatingly informative but you still have unanswered questions?  In that case I would recommend that you read through my INTERVIEWS or just ASK me.

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