Aaron Diehl: Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue)

Review by John Stevenson

Like his contemporaries, Gerald Clayton and Sullivan Fortner, Aaron Diehl represents a younger generation of jazz pianists whose playing style shows a healthy respect for tradition.

With Diehl, Ellingtonian elegance is twinned with the compositional clarity and economy of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s John Lewis. This is noticeable on the title track which also showcases Charenee Wade’s arresting vocals.

diehl at the keysThe title of Diehl’s latest recording might sound like an astrophysics textbook, but it comprehensively encompasses pre-bob and be-bop and the talents of senior titans Benny Golson and Scotsman Joe Temperley (a fixture of Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra) alongside his regular trio bandmates Quincy Davis (drums) and David Wong (bass).

Tunes such as ‘Uranus’, performed by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and ‘Organic Consequence’, bespeak Diehl’s expanding and intriguing nous as performer and composer.

Piet Mondrian would be pleased with the rising Mack Avenue artist’s Bud Powell-esque response to his masterpiece, ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie’.