He was a trumpeter born Albert Aarons in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who studied at Detroit’s Wayne State University and shouldn’t be confused with the backing singer of the same name.
In 1956 when he was 23 or 24 years old he began to make his name known as a trumpeter and by the time 1960 came along he was in Detroit performing with the pianist Barry Harris and Yusef Lateef. He briefly accompanied Wild Bill Davis the jazz organist and then in 1961 became a member of the Count Basie Orchestra where he would stay for the next 8 years.
Going on to work as a sideman and studio musician for various artists in Los Angeles in the 1970s in music ranging from from jazz to jazz fusion to disco, he could be heard performing with artists such as Gene Ammons, Stanley Clarke, Buddy Collette, Ella Fitzgerald, The Gap Band , Henry Mancini, Maria Muldaur, Zoot Sims, Sarah Vaughan and Gerald Wilson among many others and he also established his own Legend record label.
Albums he has appeared on are his own Al Aarons & The L.A. Jazz Caravan, and School Days by Stanley Clarke, Sinatra-Basie by Frank Sinatra & Count Basie, On the Sunny Side of the Street by Ella Fitzgerald, Together Again…Live by Bobby Bland & B.B. King, Peach Melba by Melba Moore, We Meet Again by Martha Reeves, Porgy & Bess by Cleo Laine & Ray Charles, Sweet Harmony by Maria Muldaur, Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones by Quincy Jones, Rhymes & Reasons by Carole King, Round Midnight by Mel Torme , Soul on Top by James Brown, Nexus by Gene Harris, Now and Then by Buddy Collette, Passion Flower by Zoot Sims, Wild & Swingin’, Straight Ahead and Stages by Count Basie, With Michel LeGrand, Rita Coolidge and The Gap Band . In the movies he appeared as a trumpeter in the 1981 film Quartet.
On 17th November 2015 Al passed away peacefully at his home in Laguna Hills, California.