newsperformancesaudio/videophotosthe bandbooking/contactpress kitemail listguestbook

Meet the Band
(click a member to read bio)


Rick Auhagen  Eric Baumgartner  Marcos Sastre  Jon Stankorb  Bill Jackson  Adam Wheeler  Bryan Stanton  Michael Mavridoglou  Aretta Baumgartner  Jacklyn Chitwood

You got to shake it baby! AJA recreates the sounds of one of rock's most legendary and enigmatic bands with stunning precision and energy. The joint will be rockin' to all the Dan classics from Reelin' in the Years to Hey Nineteen and beyond. This 10-piece ensemble features former members of Pretzel Logic and includes some of the Cincinnati area’s finest jazz, rock and session musicians. No static at all!

_______________________________________________________


Aja, A Tribute to the Music of Steely Dan burst on the Southwest Ohio scene in 2005 by organizing and hosting an all Steely Dan festival in Cincinnati OH featuring regional acts and a headlining set by the new band Aja with special guest Steely Dan drummer Bernard Purdie. On the heels of that performance, Aja has played many shows and developed a devoted following of Dan fans that love to dance the night away to "Reelin' in the Years" and "My Old School" as much as they love to sit wide eyed and smiling while listening to faithful recreations of "Caves of Altamira" and "Deacon Blues". The magic of a group like Aja is that they combine an overwhelming collection of musical talent and skill with a tremendous reverence for the material of Steely Dan. This results in an attention to detail regarding the complex and nuanced recordings of the classic Steely Dan arrangements complemented by plenty of freedom to stretch out and bring a personal touch to the material in a live setting. And the fans LOVE it.

The 10-piece Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio based group is comprised of professional musicians from all sides. Laying down the foundation, Adam Wheeler (Drums/vocals) and Bill Jackson (Bass) form a tight and groovy rhythm section that handles the full spectrum of Steely beats from "Bodhisattva" to "Babylon Sisters" all with swing and precision. Eric Baumgartner (Keyboards) lays down the distinct and specific harmonies of Donald Fagan with focused attention on getting the tone just right. Brad Myers (Guitar) and Marcos Sastre (Guitar) have the obvious pleasure of recreating Steely Dan's iconic guitar parts recorded by a veritable who's who of guitar legends all while tastefully lending their own voices to the party. Michael Mavridoglou (Trumpet) and Dwayne Irvin (Saxophone/EWI) are both highly skilled individually and a very cohesive unit that often sounds like much more than meets the eye. Rick Auhagen (Vocals) is the vocal heart of Aja and executes Donald Fagan's deceptively difficult vocals with an effortlessness that captures the Fagan spirit without being a mimic. Aretta Baumgartner (Vocals) and Jacklyn Chitwood (Vocals) are the vocal icing on the Steely Dan cake, the Aja choir, and if you don't "shake it" when they tell you to these "Babylon Sisters" won't do your "Dirty Work" no more.

Pulling from a list of over 30 Steely Dan classics, Aja seeks to make every show a jaw dropping, yet balanced, live musical tribute to one of the most complex, mysterious and musically interesting bands in all of Rock 'n' Roll history...Steely Dan. "Break out the hats and hooters" when Aja comes to town and witness Steely Dan fans of all ages, veterans and neophytes, get up and dance to all the sounds that made Steely Dan the revered American musical treasure that it is.

_______________________________________________________

"AJA has it together! If you are a fan of the music of Steely Dan, you gotta check this band out. They are tight, groovin’, on top of the material, and everyone listening (including the band) seems to be having a great time. It was a pleasure to be able to sit in with them. I look forward to the next time."

JEFF COFFIN Saxophonist (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band)

_______________________________________________________

"…Wonderful, fantastic...I have played with many of the Steely Dan tribute bands, and Aja is certainly the finest. I think they play as well or better than the Steely Dan touring groups I have seen and heard. They have the groove, chops, feel and an obvious love for this music...This is a must see band and you can quote me on that.”

BERNARD PURDIE – Legendary Steely Dan Drummer

 

_______________________________________________________


Rick Auhagen - vocals

Rick has performed in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area for the past 40 years. He has played in such local bands as Little Field, Customers, and original contemporary blues band, Jim Ray and the Amazing Rhythm Pigs. He is currently involved with the band, Unscheduled Flight, playing a mix of west coast blues/R&B/jazz. Rick feels very fortunate to be able to share the stage with the rest of the very talented members of AJA.

_______________________________________________________


Eric Baumgartner - keyboards

Eric Baumgartner holds music degrees from Boston's Berklee College of Music and Chicago's DePaul University. Eric works as a composer, arranger and clinician for . He has authored dozens of piano works for students including the popular "Jazzabilities" series. His work as a jazz and pop clinician have taken him throughout the US and Canada as well as two tours of Australia. Eric also performs (along with fellow Aja band mates
Adam Wheeler, Steve Langemo and Brad Myers) in the Beatles tribute band, Savoy Truffle, where he plays guitar and mandolin.

_______________________________________________________


Marcos Sastre - guitar

The first music that heard was the classical music played by his mother and the Latin recordings played by his Argentine father. His earliest influence to popular music was his older brother of 11 years, Michael, an accomplished drummer. Michael would let young Marcos sit on his lap as he played drums along to the recordings of Ray Charles, James Brown, Lonnie Mack, and other Blues, Soul, and R&B artists from the late 50's early 60's. Later, hearing the music of the Beatles, began his interest in the guitar. When he heard Jimi Hendrix, he got serious. After extensive roadwork early in his career Marcos returned to his home town of Cincinnati to concentrate on recording, writing and producing music. He founded the band the Bluebirds. The band will release its tenth CD this year. Through his career he has performed with such artists as Victor Wooten, Bernard Purdie, The Neville Brothers, Dave Mason, The Lemon Pipers, Kenny Poole, Cal Collins ... Marcos is excited to add Aja to that list.

_______________________________________________________


Brad Myers - guitar

Brad Myers came to Cincinnati, OH from Fairfax, VA in 1994 to attend the Jazz Studies program at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. In addition to studying the guitar and teaching in CCM's prep department, he also studied theatrical Sound Design and Audio Engineering.
Brad spent 1998-2006 playing with Ray's Music Exchange, a well respected Cincinnati Jazz/Funk Jam Band. He produced all five of their audio releases, which can be found on I-Tunes and other digital music outlets, and is currently working on their first Live concert DVD filmed during a successful reunion show in 2010. In addition to teaching at , Brad plays bass and mandolin with his AJA band mates in Savoy Truffle, accompanies Jackie Chitwood on acoustic guitar, and plays on weekends regularly at Terry's Turf Club, home of the best burger this side of...the world!!

_______________________________________________________


Bill Jackson - bass

Bill attended Boston's Berklee College of Music and graduated from Indiana University’s music program. He teaches bass at Northern Kentucky University and Mehas Music, and can be found in a variety of musical settings (Caribbean, Latin, jazz, bluegrass, and pop!).

_______________________________________________________


Adam Wheeler - drums, vocals

Adam freelances as a drummer/percussionist and has worked with a including the celebrated Beatles tribute band Savoy Truffle, Eric Jerardi, Stephen Sorrentino and the Shawn Stanley Trio to name a few.

_______________________________________________________


Dwayne Irvin - Saxophone

Born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio, Dwayne studied saxophone at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the Jazz/Studio music program. He has performed locally with several groups, working professionally in the Cincinnati area for over 30 years. Dwayne got his start playing Steely Dan back in the late 70’s with the local group “Gyro”. He went on to work with several groups including January’s “Celebration” band and can currently be heard with . He has also backed up several national acts, including the “Spinners”, “Drifters”, and the “Temptations”.
Dwayne resides on the west side of Cincinnati with his wife Carolyn and daughter Lindsey.

_______________________________________________________


Michael Mavridoglou - trumpet

Cincinnati native Michael "Maddog" Mavridoglou (trumpet/multi-instrumentalist) has spent the last six years traveling the nation with Burlington, VT's , and Cincinnati's . He has performed and arranged for Chicago supergroup on special occasions. He also writes and arranges for different groups around the country on the side.
Michael graduated from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2002 with a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance (Trumpet concentration).

_______________________________________________________


Aretta Baumgartner - vocals

Aretta Baumgartner is an award-winning puppeteer, mask performer, actress and vocalist. She holds a BA in Theatre from Ashland University and an MA in Communication Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She's the Education Director at the in Atlanta, GA--delighted to call the ATL her home, but more-than-excited to keep AJA and the music of "the Dan" a part of her professional life!

_______________________________________________________


Jacklyn Chitwood - vocals

Jacklyn Chitwood has loved music for as long as she can remember. After studying voice at the Northern Kentucky University, Jacklyn joined her first band. She has been involved in the Cincinnati music scene for the better part of ten years.
Jacklyn can be heard on the 1997 release by the Cincinnati band entitled About Hank which Everybody's News voted one of the best local releases for 1997. Jacklyn was also a member of the successful cover band "Ultraviolet," which played in the greater Cincinnati area.  Jacklyn has provided backing vocals for several local artists in both live and studio settings.  She has also done commercial work for radio and television. In 2001, she performed with one of the finalists in the 97xposure sponsored by radio station .  She is currently part of an acoustic duo performing seasonally at Paramount's Kings Island in addition to several other venues.  

_______________________________________________________