Aaron began playing the cornet at age 12 in Steger,
Illinois, a South Suburb of Chicago. Although he had never experienced the sound or the look of the trumpet, he remembers being first drawn to the instrument by it's shiny exterior and seemingly easy three-button system. However, his love for the sound of the trumpet and jazz music came months later after being exposed to the sounds of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard through a substitute teacher who had handed him a mixed CD titled "Jazz for Aaron".
After diligent practice and guidance from his private instructor Larry Bowen, Aaron sat first chair in the top concert band at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and was a featured soloist in the top jazz band for three years. Since he was involved in the top ensembles, he and his peers in the band program got the chance to tour England and Wales for a week.
By the end of high school, he had been named an IMEA All-State musician in Jazz, recognized as a Rising Star in his community and had gigged with the Prairie State Community Big Band and a unique rock group that was comprised of students and teachers from his high school, known as "Staff Infection and the South Side Horns".
After high school, Aaron attended Illinois State University with a talent scholarship to receive his Bachelor’s in Music Education. During his time there, he was classically trained by Dr. Amy Gilreath-Major and briefly studied with Vince DiMartino. He's played with guest artists like Ernie Watts, Marshall Gilkes, Wayne Bergeron and Doug Stone while in the top Jazz Band and combo at the university. Outside of performing in the ensembles at school, Aaron had also freelanced and recorded with local artists and bands around the Central Illinois and Chicagoland area like the Hartland Jazz Orchestra, led by David Hoffman, and Ska's the Limit, a group that his friends put together.
Although Aaron had never listened to Ska-punk music prior to joining the band, he jumped at the opportunity to gain a new musical experience. The group played a number of shows and festivals around campus and Chicago, steadily gaining popularity with fans of the music. This recognition has led to opportunities to open for big names in the ska-community like Mustard Plug, Reel Big Fish and Five Iron Frenzy. Ska's the Limit has also been featured on the radio station 103.9 The Fox with their debut single, "Bring Back Ska". The group continues to build momentum with their live performances from songs on their recent release in 2015 titled, “Ska’s the Limit EP”.
After graduating from Illinois State in May of 2016 with his BME and teacher certification, Aaron plans to continue his education this Fall to pursue his Master’s in Jazz Studies (Performance) at DePaul University in Chicago. During his time there, he will be studying under trumpeter Chad McCullough. Through this next step in his education, Aaron further pursues his dream of making a living as a professional musician and entrepreneur.
Aaron Washington plays on a B&S Challenger II 3143/2LR-S Bb trumpet.