Soft Jazz and Old Wine
Classic American Songbook ballads are performed in this relaxing, intimate, acoustic jazz setting between American tenor saxophonist, Steven Rogers, and Norwegian pianist, Lars Aukrust.
“Steve and I first met at the Stanford University Jazz Residency program in 2012. Inspired by the spirit at Stanford, we agreed that we would later get together to jam after we returned to our homes in Washington, D.C. When we got around to it, it felt great. We were thrilled by the way we connected in the intimate sax/piano duo format. The format seemed to just ask for ballads and the old American Songbook contains some of the most beautiful jazz ballads ever written. These melodies, lyrics, and chord progressions are the essence of holistic, musical beauty, and are the “old wines” of jazz literature. We enjoyed the flexibility of time, expression, and musical conversation in the duo format while the sheer beauty of the chord progressions carried us along. After our first casual jam together, we quickly realized that we were onto something special and decided to record a full-length album. We wanted to create a collection of songs that were relaxed and beautiful with unrehearsed arrangements comprised mostly of spontaneous improvisation. We hope you enjoy Soft Jazz and Old Wine.”
Lars Aukrust, January 2013
Lars Aukrust holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Oslo and has held several management jobs in academia and industry in Norway. His latest assignment was as science counselor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. However, his true passions are painting and jazz. Whether it is painting or jazz, Lars finds that art always needs to be a search for interest and beauty with artistic value added. Lars lives with his lovely wife, Liv-Ellen, in Oslo, Norway.
Steven Rogers is a composer, saxophonist, and teacher currently residing in Washington, DC. His compositions and performances encompass a number of styles including jazz, fusion, computer generated music, and concert band/orchestral pieces. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs with a minor in Jazz Studies from The George Washington University and a Master of Music in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory. He has composed, arranged, and performed with several ensembles in the DC area and has also performed with The Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, opened for Rahzel (of the hip-hop group The Roots) and had his compositions performed at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Shakespeare Theater Company. Steven lives with his fat cats, George and Ophelia, in Washington, DC, and teaches music at the Maret School.
Lars dedicates his performance to his wife, Liv-Ellen, for her continuous encouragement and inspiration.
Steven dedicates his performance to his parents. “You filled our home with these old songs and have sung their lyrics at the dinner table ever since I was born. Each of these tunes speaks of embracing or understanding either profound love, hurt, or loss. Just like these songs, you’ve taught me to live with an open heart and have always spoken of the strength and beauty that will come from not fearing vulnerability, love, and deep sensitivity in every arena of life. These pieces, your teaching, and the lives you have lived caring for others have shown me that, although embracing vulnerability every day is never easy and takes courage, in the end, strength will endure and the richness of life will always unveil itself to you.”
Released 15 February 2013. All album artwork by Lars Aukrust. The cover photo is a rendition of a painting called Blue Lady by Lars Aukrust. The original is approximately 40 x 30 inches, and was made during the summer of 2012 in liquid acrylics on canvas. The motive was a result of a largely improvisational painting process. All arrangements by Steven Rogers and Lars Aukrust. Steven and Lars are members of the America Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers, ASCAP. Steven uses a Yanagisawa Tenor Saxophone, a Phil-Tone Equinox Mouthpiece by Phil Engleman, and a Marc Jean Ligature. Lars recorded on Nord Stage 2 keyboard, using the Upright Piano sound. Album is recorded and miced using Ableton Live 8, A Mac Probook Retina, A Sparks Blue Mic, Apogee Ensemble, and Motu Dreamwork Effects.