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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
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.
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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 Hal
Leonard Publishing. 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.
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Marcos Sastre - guitar
The first music that Marcos
Sastre 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.
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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 Moeller
Music, 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!!
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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!).
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Wheeler - drums, vocals
Adam freelances as a drummer/percussionist and has worked with a variety of artists and bands including the celebrated Beatles tribute band Savoy
Truffle, Eric Jerardi, Stephen Sorrentino and the Shawn Stanley Trio to name a few.
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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 Clyde
Brown Unlimited. 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.
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Mavridoglou - trumpet
Cincinnati native Michael "Maddog" Mavridoglou (trumpet/multi-instrumentalist)
has spent the last six years traveling the nation with Burlington,
Mandolin Project, and Cincinnati's
Rays Music Exchange. He has performed and arranged for
Chicago supergroup Umphreys
McGee 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
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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 Center for Puppetry Arts 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!
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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 Fugue
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.
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