I am primarily a jazz composer. A wide range of influences are found in my music including jazz, tango, blues, samba, fusion, new music, and back to American roots music.
"Introduction to my Music" trailer:
My exploration of the jazz family tree does not stop at New Orleans. I've gone further back to old fiddle styles -- especially, Appalachian -- as an early branch in the evolution of the music. For me, looking back to roots music and looking ahead to new music are equally creative.
I am also deeply attracted to nuevo tango and to Astor Piazzolla's music. My tangos are written in a personal style. They draw upon jazz and, at times, have a touch of contemporary classical. In a curious way, a number of musician friends have told me that they hear a Frank Zappa influence in some of my tangos. I suspect it's the quirky humor that runs through much of my music.
I have a large number of original tunes and extended pieces written in a lead sheet format. They can be easily adapted for solo instruments and small groups. I especially like to write for mid-size jazz ensemble (9 to 12 players), tango-jazz band, and other kinds of ensembles as I feel inspired.
A selection of my originals have been scored for woodwind quintet, jazz soloist, and rhythm section. Flexible instrumentation is used to enable the music to be performed by many configurations of instruments. If interested, contact me for score & parts.
As you listen to my music, if there are pieces that you especially like please let me know and I'll send copies of the music. I'm looking for more musicians and ensembles to discover and perform this music.
Jazz Composition, Berklee College of Music 1968.
BA Composition, McKendree University 1973.
MA Composition, New Mexico Highlands University 1974.
Jazz and classical composition teachers include Herb Pomeroy, Charlie Mariano, William Maloof, John Bavicchi, Dr. Robert Wykes, Dr. Stephanie Owen, and Dr. Champ Tyrone.
Listed in International Who's Who in Music.
Independent Artist. A selection of my music is licensed through PARMA Recordings.
VIDEOS of my compositions can be seen on Youtube:
A selection of my music is now on Jango internet radio!
Born in 1946 in Kansas City, MO, Roger Aldridge discovered jazz at an early age thanks to his mother’s collection of jazz & big band recordings and started on alto saxophone when he was 9.
Roger developed a deep interest in jazz composition in his early teens. This led him to major in composition & arranging at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. At Berklee, Roger studied jazz composition with Herb Pomeroy and Charlie Mariano, classical composition with William Maloof and John Bavicchi, and woodwinds with Joe Viola. After Berklee, Roger studied composition with Dr. Robert Wykes, Dr. Stephanie Owen, and Dr. Champ Tyrone. He received a B.A. degree in composition from McKendree University and a M.A. degree in composition from New Mexico Highlands University.
After working as a professional musician (including playing in Smokey Robinson’s horn section), composer-arranger, and music educator for 9 years, Roger realized that he would not be able to financially support his family through music. He made a career change in 1977 to become a business analyst and worked at Southwestern Bell, Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), Fannie Mae, and DecisionPath Consulting. Due to a busy work and family schedule, Roger was away from music for 12 years. However, he started to compose again in 1989.
For the next 22 years Roger composed as he was able between his work and family lives. He was persistent. By 2001, he had composed over 600 original pieces in a wide range of styles. Roger retired in 2011 – or as he puts it, “Made a career change back to music”. Now, he is able to be a full-time composer as he dreamed of as a teenager in Kansas City.
Roger’s business transfer from Missouri to Maryland in 1983 became an important development in his music. When he started composing again in 1989 much of the new music was directly inspired by his life in Maryland – in particular, his love of the Appalachian Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay. He often says, “I’m convinced that if I had lived somewhere else my music would be different from how it is”.
During this time he began to explore an interest in old fiddle traditions. This was a result of hearing fiddle players in West Virginia. For Roger, it was easy to envision Appalachian fiddle music as being an early branch of the jazz family tree.
For the next 12 years Roger explored fiddle styles and incorporated them in his original tunes. At first he wrote music in a traditional style (“more or less” as he says). However, it did not take long for his jazz roots to assert themselves. Progressively, Roger’s tunes took on a hybrid character in having a unique blend of jazz, fiddle music, contemporary classical, tango, samba, funk, blues, and many other kinds of music that interest him. Above all, much of Roger’s music is written with a quirky humor. As he says, “When I’m working on a new piece, if I’m not smiling and chuckling something must be wrong”. For this reason, his music is often described by listeners as “Serious music that is fun”.
While Roger has been composing for a long time, he did not have a good way to get his music out to be heard. Typically, he is happier for other musicians to perform his music than himself. Having a large stack of original music, Roger decided in 2010 to begin using internet resources such as Facebook, Reverbnation, and other music sites as a way for people to hear and discover his music. Responses to the music have been deeply gratifying for him. Roger’s music now has fans in many countries around the world.
Donut Music (solo guitar). Commissioned by Keith Calmes. The composition was inspired by a line in a story written by Roger’s 8-year old granddaughter, Eillonwy: “Sitting in a dark room, eating a chocolate donut”. The music represents a stream of memories, images, and thoughts as one’s life is contemplated over a donut. Written in 9 movements (or bites), the composition draws upon various roots-based musical styles including blues, Appalachian, tango, jazz, samba, as well as having touches of contemporary classical.
Music for jazz soloist, woodwind quintet, and rhythm section. The scores use flexible instrumentation to enable the music to be performed by many configurations of instruments. The pieces completed to date are: Connecticut Avenue SUVs, New Tango No. 1, Baltimore Rowhouse, Sleepy Creek Samba, Smaller Ups and Downs, Blues for Lester, Salt Marsh Rag, and Appalachian Awakening.
Music for tango-jazz band. Each piece expresses a distinctive quality of the tango including movement, mystery, attraction, longing, audaciousness, coalesce, and passion.
Buzzards in Love (wind ensemble). The music tells the story of an imaginary pair of buzzards. Section titles in the score include: buzzard search for life’s meaning, buzzard attraction, buzzard tango, buzzard dating, roadkill interlude (open improvisation section), and buzzard love in the sky. This piece has a spirit of fun and adventure.
Original tunes and extended pieces (in lead sheet format). They can be easily adapted for solo instruments and small groups.
Listen to my music
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