Saxophonist Don Aliquo’s playing has been described as “fluid with an articulate flow of always surprising ideas, sophisticated with a dexterous technique and an incredibly smooth tenor sound that seduces rather than shouts.” Although his early influences are tenor saxophonists like John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine and George Coleman, his recent recorded output also displays his later Lester Young, Stan Getz and Joe Henderson influences as well.
His latest CD, entitled SUN & SHIELD features veteran jazz masters Rufus Reid, bass, Jim McNeely, piano and the dynamic drummer Obed Calvaire. Recorded in June 2010, the work features the quartet in a set of originals written mainly by Aliquo with a tune each by Reid and McNeely. The album also introduces Aliquo’s work as a jazz clarinetist, an often over-looked instrument with deep jazz roots.
Aliquo began his career in jazz-rich Pittsburgh, where he grew up listening to and learning from the city’s jazz legends. Following in the footsteps of his father, a well-respected jazz artist himself, Don spent his formative years performing with many of the region’s greats including Joe Harris, Danny Conn, David Budway, and John Wilson.
His musical development continued at the Berklee College of Music, where he played in the International Dues Band directed by Phil Wilson. Joe Viola, Ed Tomasi and John La Porta were instrumental in his artistic growth at Berklee. Don’s early professional career also included tours as lead alto with the Tommy Dorsey Band directed by Buddy Morrow, and for a brief interlude as baritone saxophonist with the legendary drummer Buddy Rich. He also toured extensively with the East Coast R & B group, Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band, recording, writing horn arrangements, and performing as a soloist.
After these expanding and maturing experiences, Don’s career took two crucial turns. He began performing and recording with Roger Humphries, the legendary Horace Silver drummer, while furthering his musical development at Duquesne University. Under the direction of John “Doc” Wilson, Don completed a master’s degree in performance summa cum laude, discovered a love for teaching as a graduate teaching assistant, and earned multiple honors and awards.
During his collaboration with Humphries, he composed the title cut for the recording, THIS and THAT, and performed on A NEW HOME, a live CD recording and produced by the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Throughout those years, he jammed with many of Pittsburgh’s legendary artists such as Stanley Turrentine and George Benson.
Don continued to expand artistically and professionally, forming his own group focused on performinghis original compositions. Along with bassist Dave LaRocca, drummer Greg Humphries, and guitarist Eric Susoeff, he recorded two critically acclaimed CDs, as well developing an instrumental program at The Ellis School and teaching at Duquesne University.
Since 1999, Don has held a faculty position at Middle Tennessee State University near Nashville, where Aliquo is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone. In the Nashville area, Don has performed in concerts and/or recordings with Gary Burton, Greg Osby, Rufus Reid, Pete Christlieb, Scott Robinson, Jeff Coffin and Marvin Stamm.
Don is an in-demand clinician, presenting concerts and clinics throughout the United States and is honored to represent Vandoren (reeds and mouthpieces.