Drew Zaremba is saxophonist, organist, and rightfully lauded powerhouse of an
arranger and composer. Drawing eclectic influence from icons of big band, heroes of classical music, and the luminaries of British Rock, Zaremba combines, concocts, and creates with a refreshing originality in thewildest of never-before-imagined manners. Described as a musician who “writes and plays from his heart”
and who “knows and speaks the language of music” (Eddie Gomez), Zaremba presents Reunion, an unequivocally celebratory big band debut rich with creativity at every turn, united first and foremost around the deep joy that permeates from every note he pens.
Reunion is Zaremba’s joyous brainchild of many years of devoted craftsmanship and many years of searching for a musical identity. Having worked as a writer and arranger for so many other high-profile artists throughout the world of jazz and creative music, Zaremba found himself, until recently, not knowing how to
define his own concept of voice. When the pandemic of 2020 occurred, Zaremba was able to fully explore this question for the first time. The answer was not, however, a single genre blend or trademark concept, but something more that blanketed everything he created: joy. “My style of music is generally joyful,” Zaremba says. “[This] doesn’t necessarily mean happy or sad, but there’s a sense of hope and optimism within different settings of groove, melody, and (generally speaking) rich harmony.”
One of the profound elements of Reunion is Zaremba’s ability to collaborate in bringing it to life. From the writing and rehearsing to the production and tracking, Zaremba has demonstrated with his band that working alongside others is as important as the individual brilliance that sparks the project’s inception. “There were a LOT of chats, discussion, and editing between myself and the rhythm section, particularly [drummer] Jim White, who is a fabulous producer as well,” Zaremba says. “He helped the music breathe in so many places where it needed to.” Zaremba also thanks the role and influence of John Clayton on the album. “John (Clayton) and I have been getting together for years, and some of these charts are tunes we’ve done in lessons/hangs over the past couple years,” Zaremba says. “His touch is all over this album.” One of the biggest contributions to the album was the lyrics to the track “Together.” The song, which was written by Zaremba for his wife, Jolie, and son, Charlie, features a vocal performance by long-time collaborator and
friend, Rosana Eckert. In addition to contributing her stellar vocal performance, Eckert also composed the lyrics for the piece. “Rosana knew all of us,” Zaremba says, “so this was a very touching and beautiful collaboration that I love to share with friends and fans.”
With Reunion, Zaremba successfully creates a mosaic of variegated brilliance that reflects and reimagines the kaleidoscopic array of influences that influenced him. Armed with his keen compositional vision and ever-flowing joy, Zaremba makes an indelible mark on the world of composition that will leave an inexorable
impression on all who follow after.
Reunion releases on Next Level, an imprint of Outside in Music on November 10th, 2023.