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Como Park rock cellist launches new series of shows at Underground Cafe

Posted on 14 January 2015 by robwas66


“I was 16, and that was the first time I had improvised, and it changed my world. It made me want to learn more, … compose music, … learn all different styles of music – in that one moment,” said Como resident Aaron Kerr.



If you live in the Como Park neighborhood, and, in particular, if your children go to Chelsea Heights School, then you have likely seen Aaron Kerr around. Riding his bike with a pedi-cab attachment, Kerr, by day, is a stay-at-home dad who hauls his youngest kids around in the pedi-cab. But at night, Kerr is a rock cellist.

Rock cello. Two words that seemingly do not work as a pair; that is, until you meet Kerr, who has devoted almost his entire life to playing cello and, in the last two decades, refining his most important work of composing and performing music that changes what for many is a preconceived notion of the cello’s genre.

“Rock cello is a slowly expanding style of playing,” said Kerr. “You play differently, you bow differently, you use different sets of notes. It’s not classical. It uses a simpler set of notes, but they have to be composed and played the right way in order to be effective. And it can be very, very powerful.”

Varied experience

Kerr started playing cello at age 10, and when he was a teenager, he experienced a seminal moment in his music career. “I was already playing in a rock band, but I hadn’t experienced jazz. My brother had learned to play jazz when he was an exchange student in Germany, and he came back and said, ‘We’re going to learn how play “All Blues” by Miles Davis.’ I was 16, and that was the first time I had improvised, and it changed my world. It made me want to learn more, it made me want to compose music, it made me want to learn all different styles of music – in that one moment.”

Kerr studied cello and composition at Loyola University of New Orleans. After college, Kerr relocated to the Twin Cities, where his girlfriend – now wife – found work. Kerr eventually landed a job with Half Price Books, which he credits for being a “nesting ground for artists,” and whenever he could – in between working and raising a family – Kerr “created a life that feeds my soul.” He composed music, he taught cello, he wrote a cello curriculum, he has made numerous recordings, and he has traveled the country performing his unique brand of rock cello.

“I have done everything I want to do except make more recordings and play to a wider audience,” said Kerr. “What I would really like is for everyone to get off their computers and go listen to some live music. That would make me feel like I accomplished something.”

Upcoming shows

Kerr will be providing a chance for people to hear his music through a series of shows on the last Saturday of every month at the Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave. N. At the January show, Kerr will perform solo; in February he will perform with Kerr Kerr’s Dissonant Creatures, followed by performances with the Modern Spark Trio in March and Heavy Pedal Cello in April.
All shows begin at 7pm. For more information or to get tickets for music and a prepaid dinner, go to the Underground Music Café website at undergroundmusiccafe.com. Tickets for the shows will also be available at the door.

For more information about Aaron, visit www.aaronkerr.com.

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