When the clock hit 40, Disco Biscuits’ keyboardist and founding member Aron Magner decided it was time to get back to his roots. This was the time when you’re supposed to be taking stock of your accomplishments — in his case, a successful career as a touring musician who, among other things, had a measurable impact on the jam band and “jamtronica” genres. With the Disco Biscuits, Magner’s incredible journey is still mid-flight and he’s been a vanguard of live, improvisational, electronic rock music. But this journey ultimately started with just a piano.
Magner’s instruments and approach in the Disco Biscuits is something special indeed and a cornerstone of the band’s overall sound and style. But his friends and those close to him have always known a secret — he is a tour de force on the grand piano as well. For years, they’ve encouraged him to explore that side of his artistry in a non-Disco Biscuits project, but either the timing or the project was never quite right. Until now.
SPAGA is something entirely new and different from Aron Magner — a throwback to his jazz roots, in the form of a mostly acoustic trio that augments his grand piano skills with the organic immediacy and interplay of upright bass and drums. “I was having fun exploring songs with no preconceptions of what the music actually was yet or for that matter who we were as a trio, and that provided for unexpected and welcoming results,” says Magner. By going back to his origins, it was important for him to keep the project, and all involved with it, a reflection of the idea of “roots.” He chose local musicians, a local studio, and brought in people from his friend and family circle as well as new friends in his local area. First up, he enlisted upright bassist Jason Fratecelli who, in turn, enlisted drummer Matt Scarano. Like everything else with this project, the genesis was simply organic.
SPAGA allows Magner looks to a new frontier of live music presentation: unique venues and curated spaces in which the surroundings become a reflection of the experience, highlighting the organic nature and intimate vibe of this music. SPAGA is more than just improvisations on a collection of instrumental songs; it’s an unsung story told through music and experience.
Over the past 20 years Aron Magner made a name for himself in the live music space, primarily as a founding member of seminal jam-rock band The Disco Biscuits, and as an integral part of additional groups that have each attained national recognition and reverence. These include Conspirator, an electronic deep-dive, to Billy & the Kids, an official Grateful Dead offshoot led by the Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann. Magner is a repeat headliner at some of the country’s most prestigious stages and festivals and will continue to intrigue and draw audiences with his new and ever unfolding musical adventure.