Aaron Shapiro grew up in a musical family. Both of his grandparents were singers at The Old Town School of Folk Music and his uncle was a rock drummer. At age five Aaron began studying classical guitar at the Laughlin School of Music in Glenview, Illinois. His first year there he learned the basics of fingerstyle playing and started to read music. Aaron recorded the earliest songs he learned into a small tape recorder boombox and soon began performing in recitals at his local library.
Early in his teens, Aaron discovered the music of Prince, Earth Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder. He started playing Rock and R & B songs on his Epiphone electric guitar and also joined his middle school’s jazz band, where he first heard the music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Alongside his private guitar studies with Jeff Parker, Aaron became active at Midwest Young Artists Conservatory where he took classes in jazz combo, big band and music theory.
As a high schooler, Aaron’s abilities as a jazz soloist gained attention at the state and national levels. He was selected twice to perform with Illinois All-State high school jazz band and held down a monthly gig with his trio at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He was also chosen from a national pool of musicians to perform with The Grammy Jazz Ensemble, where he shared the stage with Esperanza Spaulding and recorded at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Aaron was also featured on CBS reporter Harry Porterfield’s weekly news series “Someone You Should Know.”
In 2010 Aaron began performing and touring with EveryPeople Workshop, a Chicago-based collective of jazz musicians including saxophonists Chris Madsen, Nick Mazzarella and trumpeter Marquis Hill. With EveryPeople Workshop, Aaron debuted his big band compositions at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago and recorded three albums.
Aaron has performed at many of Chicago’s renowned live music venues including Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Andy’s Jazz Club, Constellation, and Ravinia Festival’s Bennett Gordon Hall. Since 2015 he has performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and recorded with The Eternals, a band described by Pitchfork as “a seamless blending of dub, funk, and punk”. In 2017 he performed before a speech made by President Barack Obama at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Aaron has also recorded with saxophonist Patrick Bartley, drummer Daru Jones, and R&B vocalist Coultrain.
Currently, Aaron leads a trio with Hammond B-3 organist Dan Chase and drummer Clif Wallace that spotlights his original compositions. He lives in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago and remains active as a performing and recording artist.