First Move


(Cellar Live)

Firmly entrenched in the New York jazz scene, drummer Aaron Seeber makes his debut recording as a leader with the aptly titled First Move (Cellar Live). The SUNY Purchase grad helms an all-star quintet comprising vibraphonist Warren Wolf, saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. And, as a student of the giants of jazz drumming, it’s unsurprising that Seeber would include a composition by Al Foster, who is best known for his contributions to Miles Davis albums such as On the CornerBig Fun and The Man With the Horn. Foster also led his own recording sessions, including the one for his 1997 release Brandyn, the title track of which was composed for his young son of the same name and covered here by Seeber and company. Brandyn would meet a tragic fate when he was shot to death at the age of 31 in 2017, but he was immortalized in Foster’s song, which is full of hope and expectation. (Foster would reprise the song on his 2019 release, Inspirations & Dedications, in a brief but poignant piano trio rendition.) Seeber’s quintet returns the tune to its joyful origins. Their spirited live version brims with a quiet optimism reflected in the sparkling interplay among Wolf, Green and Fortner, as well as in the rhythmic uplift of Okegwo and the drummer himself, who remains busy but never over-the-top in what amounts to a life-affirming performance.

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The Authoritative Voice in Jazz