Aaron Diehl Trio
February 26, 2019 at 7pm
When jazz pianist Aaron Diehl made his New York Philharmonic debut in 2016, the day before his 31st birthday, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times wrote, “He must be invited back.”
Aaron has been a staple of the New York jazz scene since 2007 and has collaborated with living masters ranging from from NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson to 20th century classical titan Philip Glass, while establishing himself as one of the preeminent interpreters of the Great American Songbook in his own trio and with the vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. His role as pianist and musical director for vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, the most arresting and authentic jazz vocalist to emerge in three decades, has enhanced his profile well beyond the jazz world.
Diehl grew up in a musical family. His grandfather was pianist and trombonist Arthur Baskerville and Diehl began studying classical music when he was 7. He attended the prestigious National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, where he discovered jazz and the music of Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum. After his performance at the Ellington competition, where he was named Outstanding Soloist, he toured with the Wynton Marsalis Septet on their European tour. He returned to study at Juilliard.
Before his Philharmonic debut, where he played Gershwin’s Concerto in F, Diehl was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. He spoke about his love for the work. “It is a classical concerto,” he said. “What makes it so unique, though, is Gershwin’s embrace and use of rhythms, syncopations and folk material that are native to America. He’s got blues in there… The Charleston is all over this piece. He has hints of what we call Harlem stride, made famous by James P. Johnson, Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith and Fats Waller, who wrote ‘Honeysuckle Rose.’ You have this boom-chick figure in the left hand. It’s almost like ragtime, but it’s a more advanced version, if you will. You have the syncopation in the right hand. In fact, I take it a step further from what Gershwin wrote, and I make it into a full-blown stride sort of style.”
Diehl has released several albums, the most recent for Mack Avenue Records. His first on the label, 2013’s The Bespoke Man’s Narrative, reached No. 1 on the JazzWeek Jazz Chart. KCRW praised it as “an album you can listen to again and again, honest music that invites you back in to discover new wonders with each listening.”
Diehl was the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist, one of the youngest artists to receive the honor. He has won numerous other awards, including the 2011 Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association and the 2012 Prix du Jazz Classique from the Academie du Jazz. In an effort to nurture young jazz artists, he was named the first artistic director of the Catskill Jazz Factory. Broadway World said “Aaron Diehl is an aficionado of the early tradition of jazz piano.”
Diehl’s eclectic recent projects include serving as music director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center New Orleans Songbook concert series, performing the New York premiere of Philip Glass’ complete Etudes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, collaborating with Spanish flamenco guitarist Dani Se Moron in Flamenco meets Jazz and touring the United States and Europe with Grammy-nominated jazz singer Cecile McLorin Slavant.
This is a rare opportunity to hear a rising star of jazz. Don’t miss it.
Partial proceeds to benefit St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.