Iron Aidan 

Aidan Carroll
Photo: Ryan John Lee

Aidan Carroll was not like most kids. Although the 2002 Classen School of Advanced Studies graduate played in a rock band or two, his real love was jazz. He became obsessed with it while fellow students consumed Top 40 hits.

“I loved the challenge that jazz gave me,” the bassist said. “Just learning the language and the history, there’s so much to it. You spend a lifetime trying to learn it and find your own way of playing it. It offers a lot of personal artistic freedom to kind of be who you are. It was something that spoke to me.”

After spending the past year on the road, including Europe, Carroll returns to his alma mater of the University of Central Oklahoma to play the UCO Jazz Lab on Wednesday, May 29.

The show represents Oklahoma as part of National Chamber Music Month, but more exciting for him is that this show is a reunion of sorts. His friends and colleagues make
up the band, including Jeremy Thomas on drums, Grant Goldstein on
guitar and Carroll’s former professor and mentor, Lee Rucker, on

“We’re going
to be presenting some traditional idioms of jazz, and just having fun,”
Carroll said. “We’re going to be presenting stuff that we like to play,
just doing some swinging. I’m writing some new music for that show, and
maybe even a Stevie Wonder cover.”

Aidan Carroll
Photo: Grant Howe

been out of Oklahoma for so long, the New York City-based Carroll said
he plays his best here because he “immediately feels comfortable because
it’s familiar.” He hopes UCO Jazz lab attendees will feel the same
thing, even if they are not jazz fans.

the time they leave, they will be,” Carroll said, “One of the things
that people may not know about seeing instrumental jazz music is that
it’s actually very visual, and I think it makes a big difference when
people who may not be familiar with the music can get to come see it

Because the
quartet members are friends, he said it will “be very obvious” that the
good-time vibes from the stage aren’t, well, staged.

not just playing for ourselves; we’re gonna have a good rapport and
just communicate with the audience. They should have fun,” he said.

I hear good music, it generally makes me reflect and that’s what I want
from the audience, too, that they get to a place, mentally or
spiritually, where they can reflect on things.”

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