“There’s something really exhilarating about doing something terrifying,” she said, talking about her latest project, Ogresse, her song cycle/performance piece, which she is trying to turn into an animated feature film. For my vocal jazz column in Jazziz Magazine (Jan. 2021 issue), the supremely talented @CecileSalvant, a recently minted MacArthur fellow, spoke to me from Miami, where she was spending the holidays. A beautiful person and artist.
Category Archives: Aaron Diehl
Cecile McLorin Salvant on gratitude, pandemics, awards, and what scares her (Jazziz Magazine, Jan. 2021)
Bassist Chuck Israels is 82, pianist Aaron Diehl is 33, but they have much in common, as they proved last week at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Last week I did a joint interview with them for DownBeat, then reviewed their show. It was, for me, a personal reunion with both. I had previously profiled Aaron, whom I admire greatly, in Downbeat. The last time I saw Chuck was circa 1976, when, as a scruffy 21-year-old, I took his jazz workshop at SUNY Purchase.
At 56, Marsalis is among the youngest living artists ever inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame. If he had only been the leading trumpeter of his generation, there’s little doubt he eventually would have made it into the hallowed hall. But it’s his tireless work as an educator, bandleader, fundraiser, non-profit executive, and advocate for jazz and American culture that probably sealed the deal so soon. My interview with him, from the December 2017 DownBeat.
Pianists Sullivan Fortner (above), Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, and two excellent student pianists from Julliard (Micah Thomas and Joel Wenhardt) rocked the “House of Swing” in “The Fantastic Mr. Jelly Lord,” the JLCO season opener at Jazz at Lincoln Center last weekend. My review in DownBeat.
The 2017 Newport Jazz Festival was, as usual, a showcase and a proving ground for great soloists. Here’s my recap, concentrating on a few of the finest performances I heard, including those of vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant (above) who performed with the Aaron Diehl Trio; the Maria Schneider Orchestra; the Benny Golson Quartet; and the Christian McBride Big Band.
Here’s a list of my favorite jazz CDs of 2015, as published in Jazz Times.
1. Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern(RPM/Columbia)
2. Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare)
3. Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, Intents and Purposes (Enja)
4. London, Meader, Pramuk & Ross, The Royal Bopsters Project (Motéma)
5. Aaron Diehl, Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue)
6. Dave Stryker, Messin’ With Mister T (Strikezone)
7. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT)
8. Cécile McLorin Salvant, For One to Love (Mack Avenue)
9. Nilson Matta, East Side Rio Drive (Krian)
10. Luciana Souza, Speaking In Tongues (Sunnyside)
1. Tony Bennett/Bill Evans, The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings(Fantasy)
2. Wes Montgomery, In the Beginning (Resonance)
3. Miles Davis, At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia Legacy)
Honorable mentions: Karrin Allyson, Many a New Day: Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein (Motéma); Chris Dingman, The Subliminal and the Sublime (Inner Arts Initiative), Chris McNulty, Eternal (Palmetto); Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Cuba: The Conversation Continues(Motéma); Robert Glasper, Covered (Blue Note); Jonathan Kreisberg, Wave Upon Wave (New For Now); Duduka da Fonseca Trio, Jive Samba (Zoho)… and I may add some others as they occur to me.
In November, DownBeat published a condensed version of my conversation with the brilliant young pianist Aaron Diehl, who some of you may know best as the accompanist and musical director for singer Cecile McLorin Salvant. A pianist of extraordinary refinement like, say, Ahmad Jamal, he can also swings as hard as Oscar Peterson, who was also an influence.
Aaron and I talked music for nearly three hours in his Harlem living room, as he sat at his Steinway grand illustrating his remarks with musical examples. DownBeat.com has just published an extended version of this Q&A, along with a sidebar about his exploits as a private pilot. Enjoy, then check out his playing on his recent album Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue) and on Cecile’s recent album For One To Love (Mack Avenue).
The first of two pieces about the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival.
What a swell party last night (6/30/15) at Jazz at Lincoln Center for launch of a new JALC-branded jazz record label, to be called Blue Engine Records. The turnout included these jazz masters and many more of the greatest musicians in New York, among them Christian McBride, Aaron Diehl, Nilson Matta, Ted Nash, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabackin, and Catherine Russell. My report will be posted at DownBeat.com tomorrow (July 2).
After only one U.S. album release, she swept the 2014 DownBeat Critics Poll, winning not only Best Female Vocalist and Rising Star Female Vocalist, but, more unexpectedly, Jazz Album of the Year and Rising Star Jazz Artist. In person, she is whip-smart, a little shy, mature beyond her 24 years, and surprisingly modest about her gifts. I loved writing this interview, which you can read here.