For immediate release

“Reunion” is a jubilant take on the big band genre that unites a cast of manifold brilliance around the joyful genius of composer, saxophonist, and organist Drew Zaremba’s music

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – 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 the wildest 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.”

The title of the album is aptly chosen as it is derived from a multiplicity of overlapping reunions. The first, and arguably most paramount, reunion that occurred is that of the band itself following the isolation and lack of ensemble work that occurred for so many with the onset of lockdown mandates. “[Reunion] is the first major recording session since the pandemic for a particular subset of musicians in the Front Range, and this represents our reunion together after nearly two years of not playing together,” Zaremba says. “It was an emotional experience for all of us, and a true joy to play together!” The mirth of reconnecting was felt most deeply in the sense of community found amidst the rhythm section. Comprising Zaremba’s colleagues – fellow professors at the University of Northern Colorado – this rhythm section has played together for over ten years, and, as Zaremba rightfully notes, “their synergy is palpable and connects all the elements of the band.” Lastly, this album was an opportunity for Zaremba to reunite with a few key players in his life: vocalist and trombonist Seth Weaver and the renowned composer/bandleader John Clayton. Weaver was a former roommate of Zaremba’s and for the two, this session was a joyous time of catching up and making music once more. Clayton has been a longstanding mentor of Zaremba’s and it is this relationship that led him to being the producer for the album. “This represents a beautiful collaboration between us. I’m incredibly grateful for him and his involvement on the project,” Zaremba says.

One of the people Zaremba has written for over the years is the great Wayne Bergeron, and this continues on Reunion with “You Ain’t Got The Blues,” one of Zaremba’s originals. “I’ve known [Bergeron] on and off for the last decade as a fan, student, admirer, and now partner in crime!” Zaremba says. “I’ve done a couple charts for Wayne, and this one is one that I’m quite proud of. He absolutely crushes it, I’m very grateful he is on the project.” A great element of Reunion is that it showcases Zaremba’s unique ability to joyfully blend ideas from whatever influence he may choose. In particular, Zaremba showcases his origins in classical music and how he’s carried those elements into his writing in the jazz and creative music genres. “I grew up a classical pianist, and thought one day I would be a professional concert pianist (definitely took a left turn since then!). However, the melodies and songs from my childhood greatly informed who I am today,” Zaremba says. Three of the arrangements on the album epitomize this: Chopin’s “Minute Waltz,” Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony, and Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”. The “Minute Waltz” is in the burning style of Buddy Rich and is done as a tongue-in-cheek 4/4. Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony originated from one of Zaremba’s thought experiments when he asked himself the tantalizing question of “What if Haydn had collaborated with Count Basie?” Meanwhile, “The Entertainer” was arranged, as Zaremba describes, to take “a Clayton-inspired spin to New Orleans.” Zaremba continues to display his ability to reimagine music with his arrangement of Pink Floyd’s “Money”. Featuring Marion Powers on vocals, “Money” blends Latin American grooves, driving rock influence, and metric complexity. “Nothing quite says British Invasion like 21/8 Bembé, right?” Zaremba teases. “No? Well, we decide to go there anyways.” 

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.
The first single, Money, releases on October 6th, 2023.

NEXTLEVEL is an imprint of Outside in Music, dedicated to early career and first-time bandleaders seeking to make an impact on the music. OUTSIDE IN MUSIC is a record label and media company that exists to serve musicians. We are a community that strives to lift its artists above the noise of the 21st-century music industry and make music that expresses the sounds of today’s wide-ranging jazz and creative music scene.