London-based saxophonist and composer, debut album Nylon Manclick to share
Born and raised in rural Hertfordshire, the son of liberal and creative parents, Aaron Liddard’s initial foray in to the world of music came via one of the most eccentric of instruments, the tuba. From this unusual starting point and via brief dalliances with both the piano and guitar, he settled on the saxophone, discovering a natural affinity with his chosen instrument that would influence his existence to the present day, taking him on a truly varied and fascinating voyage of discovery. Receiving school music lessons from the classical composer Nicholas Sackman and renowned choral director Dr Charlie Beale provided an initial enthusiasm, but it was Liddard’s discovery of the Buntingford Jazz Club that truly ignited a spark, absorbing the intricate and dexterous guitar playing of Jim Mullen and the mellifluous tones of Alan Skidmore on sax. It was at this club that Liddard improvised for the very first time, in front of his newly discovered heroes.
Further intrigue for the alternative, more technical aspects of music creation were developed at Harlow College on a sound engineering course, which eventually led to a job at Cambridge Modern Jazz Club, where Aaron discovered the brilliance of artists such as Andy Shepard and Django Bates.
But it was a decade spent in Manchester from the early nineties to noughties that the saw evolution of Aaron Liddard from an aspiring player to a master musician. Swiftly developing a reputation in the city’s burgeoning music scene as prolific jammer with an insatiable appetite for live performance, Aaron became so in demand that at one point he was performing regularly with 15 local bands! Highlights of these heady days included a long stint as tenor sax and percussion for batucada ensemble Inner Sense, whom he became acquainted with in his role as sound engineer at Manchester’s iconic live music venue Band On The Wall, not to mention the formation of Latin hip hop group Nylon Jungle, who headlined Manchester Jazz festival in 1999.
After some time spent teaching in Moss Side (where his student’s included members of The Happy Mondays), Aaron moved to London, where one fateful evening he impressed the musical director of a then up and coming singer called Amy Winehouse with his baritone sax. From there on in Aaron formed a musical bond that led him to become a touring member of the inimitable vocalists’ band, lending his skills to a plethora of live performances and recordings including ‘Later…’ with Jools Holland, a show-stopping turn at The Brit Awards and a prominent appearance in the video for Amy’s worldwide hit ‘Rehab’.
After the tragic event of Amy’s passing, Aaron’s subsequent work included a triumphant spell touring with another of the UK’s finest singers, Beverley Knight. It was in this position that he was able to perform with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic saxophonist Maceo Parker, as well as the iconic artist Prince, during his now legendary 21 days at the 02 Arena. Aaron describes the moment that Prince hushed the rhythm section to better hear the riff he had come up with during a jam session as one of the highlights of his professional life!
Aaron Liddard’s rock n roll credentials are equally as strong: being key member of The Stargazers since 2007 led to Bob Geldof asking him to join The Boomtown Rats on their recent comeback tour.
Despite flourishing in such diverse musical experience, Aaron’s love for jazz and blues has never strayed far from his heart. In 2014 he joined Sheila Tracey’s big band alongside Duncan Lamont Snr (known for his work with Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles) and Ronnie Hughes (a long time collaborator with Ted Heath). Since 2018, Aaron has also been part of The Sugaray Rayford Band, who he tours with to the present day, gracing stages in Canada, India, Western and Eastern Europe. The band won the Blues Blast Magazine prize for Best Blues Band 2019 and Sugaray’s most recent recorded work received a nomination for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’ at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Aaron Liddard is an adept musical director, curating and producing the large-scale big band album ‘Dark Humour’ by The London Jazz Collective and directing a series of UK concerts for Michael Henderson, bass player for Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Their sold out show at London’s Royal Festival Hall was met with widespread critical acclaim, including a rave review in The Financial Times.
As a frontman, Aaron Liddard formed ‘Aaron And The Argonauts’ with Paul Michael from the band Cubania, having worked together with Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta on a Latin music and dance residency at The Royal Opera House. Since their inception, Aaron And The Argonauts have performed in many parts of the world, including recent tours in Brazil and India.
Aaron released his debut album Nylon Man on in 2022 to critical acclaim. Released on vinyl, CD, downloads and supported by a national tour, the album involved 42 musicians and took 12 years to make. Nylon Man has been played on JazzFM, BBC radio, and stations around the world and Liddard was cover artist for Blues and Soul Magazine in its Oct/Nov issue.
Supremely talented saxophonist
Aaron Liddard has released an astounding album
The UK based multi-instrumentalist is a treasure yet to be found on these shores