The Taos Jazz Bebop Society is hitting its stride in its effort to bring world-class jazz to Taos. You'll see what we mean if you stop by the Harwood Museum of Art for a stellar …
The Taos Jazz Bebop Society is hitting its stride in its effort to bring world-class jazz to Taos. You'll see what we mean if you stop by the Harwood Museum of Art for a stellar concert by the critically acclaimed Aaron Diehl Trio. The show is planned Saturday (July 20) at 7 p.m.
Diehl has been a fixture on the New York City jazz scene since 2007. Quickly gaining stature, he was seen either touring or recording with folks like Wycliffe Gordon, Warren Wolf, Lew Tabackin, Matt Wilson, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
The 32-year-old classically trained pianist and composer has a style that calls to mind the swinging acoustic jazz and classical traditions. His earliest influence was his grandfather, Arthur Baskerville, a pianist and trombonist. Diehl began studying classical piano at age 7, at an arts camp where he met the pianist Eldar, who exposed him to Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum recordings. A few short years later he toured with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' septet as a teenager, and later enrolled in Juilliard's jazz studies program, according to promo materials.
Marsalis has referred to him as "The Real Diehl." During his time at Juilliard, Diehl studied with several luminaries, including pianists Kenny Barron and Eric Reed.
In 2006, a year before graduating Juilliard, he released his debut album, "Mozart Jazz." The concert album "Live at Caramoor" followed two years later. Diehl then appeared on vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant's lauded debut, 2013's "WomanChild," and released his second album "The Bespoke Man's Narrative." In 2015, Diehl released his third studio album, "Space-Time Continuum," which featured saxophonist Benny Golson and others.
The pianist's "The Bespoke Man's Narrative," a tribute to the sophisticated classicism of pianist John Lewis and his Modern Jazz Quartet, garnered praise from the New York Daily News: "Diehl, a rising star of jazz piano, has an individual talent so huge that one day he may extend the jazz tradition." The Financial Times commented, "as sharp, opulent and stylish as the title might suggest. [Diehl]'s fluency is remarkable and his light-but-sensuous touch oozes class without breaking boundaries."
Diehl recorded his first solo album, "Live at Caramoor" in 2008. Two years later he recorded "Live at The Players" showcasing two of his trios: Quincy Davis and David Wong, and Paul Sikivie and Lawrence Leathers. He won the 2012 Prix du Jazz Classique from the Académie du Jazz for Live at the Players; the 2013 Jazz Journalists Award for Up-And-Coming Artist, and in 2014 at the Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist, he became one of the youngest artists to receive that honor.
As the pianist and musical director for the debut for vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, he helped propel her as "the most arresting and authentic jazz vocalist to emerge in three decades," said critics. The accolades enhanced his profile and career beyond the jazz world. According to the artist's website, "Diehl and Salvant's musical partnership is one of the most fruitful in recent memory."
When he isn't on a tour or recording, Diehl enjoys spending time in the sky. His favorite plane to fly is the Beechcraft Bonanza.
The Aaron Diehl Trio features Peter Washington on bass and Pete Van Nostrand playing drums. Tickets are $25; $20 for Harwood Museum and Taos Jazz Bebop Society members. The Harwood Museum is located at 238 Ledoux Street, Taos. Call (575) 758-9826 to reserve seats.
Drummer Lawrence Leathers, who was well known for his collaborations with jazz artist Diehl and singer McLorin Salvant, was killed in an assault June 2 in New York City, according to a National Public Radio report. In the report, E.J. Strickland, a drummer who served as a big brother of sorts to Leathers, remembered him on Instagram as "one of the most musical, swingingest, honest drummers out here. Whenever I saw him play, I learned a great deal more about accompaniment, feel and touch." Our condolences go out to Diehl and all the familu, associates and fans.
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