AARON DIEHL, THE BESPOKE MAN'S NARRATIVE


The Aaron Diehl Quartet by John Abbott
Since winning the coveted Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz Competition of the American Pianists Association in 2011, Aaron Diehl has been stirring up a lot of enthusiasm among those lucky enough to hear him in person or on his two hard-to-get independent releases. That’s satisfied with his major label debut recording for Mack Avenue, The Bespoke Man’s Narrative, a formal reckoning of contemporary jazz piano drawn from Diehl’s training – he studied at Julliard – and his absorption of works by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Ellington, Ahmad Jamal and McCoy Tyner. But the luxurious sound on this album proves Diehl is something of a visionary, too. The album leads with a brief but gorgeous theme wrapped in the delicious harmonics that MJQ pianist John Lewis was known for creating. Then Diehl ushers in the present with back-to-back originals – a swift post bebop composition “Generation Y” comingles provocative interplay with effusive solos, followed by “Blue Nude,” a multi-layered ballad with big beats by drummer Rodney Green, the cool modernistic styling of vibes player Warren Wolf and ripe walking bass lines by David Wong. “Blue Nude” also spotlights a magnificent solo by Diehl, his best on an album full of triumphant moments.

Tying these tunes together is an ultra sophisticated style of swing, lubricated by Diehl’s supple playing and a disciplined rhythm section. Diehl’s has an urbane sophistication (the novel arrangement of “Moonlight In Vermont” blooms with confidence) and thanks to the precision of his quartet, the tracks flow easily. Whether in a club or your living room, it’s like Ellington said, “there are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind,” and I’ll declare that The Bespoke Man’s Narrative is among the good kind – the very good kind. (10 tracks; 64 minutes) You can listen to the track "Generation Y" here.

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JAZZ IN SPACE: AARON DIEHL, THE BESPOKE MAN'S NARRATIVE

Thursday, May 2, 2013

AARON DIEHL, THE BESPOKE MAN'S NARRATIVE


The Aaron Diehl Quartet by John Abbott
Since winning the coveted Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz Competition of the American Pianists Association in 2011, Aaron Diehl has been stirring up a lot of enthusiasm among those lucky enough to hear him in person or on his two hard-to-get independent releases. That’s satisfied with his major label debut recording for Mack Avenue, The Bespoke Man’s Narrative, a formal reckoning of contemporary jazz piano drawn from Diehl’s training – he studied at Julliard – and his absorption of works by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Ellington, Ahmad Jamal and McCoy Tyner. But the luxurious sound on this album proves Diehl is something of a visionary, too. The album leads with a brief but gorgeous theme wrapped in the delicious harmonics that MJQ pianist John Lewis was known for creating. Then Diehl ushers in the present with back-to-back originals – a swift post bebop composition “Generation Y” comingles provocative interplay with effusive solos, followed by “Blue Nude,” a multi-layered ballad with big beats by drummer Rodney Green, the cool modernistic styling of vibes player Warren Wolf and ripe walking bass lines by David Wong. “Blue Nude” also spotlights a magnificent solo by Diehl, his best on an album full of triumphant moments.

Tying these tunes together is an ultra sophisticated style of swing, lubricated by Diehl’s supple playing and a disciplined rhythm section. Diehl’s has an urbane sophistication (the novel arrangement of “Moonlight In Vermont” blooms with confidence) and thanks to the precision of his quartet, the tracks flow easily. Whether in a club or your living room, it’s like Ellington said, “there are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind,” and I’ll declare that The Bespoke Man’s Narrative is among the good kind – the very good kind. (10 tracks; 64 minutes) You can listen to the track "Generation Y" here.

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