Aaron Diehl – The Bespoke Man’s Narrative (2013)
DSD128 (.dsf) 1 bit/5,6 MHz | Time – 63:50 minutes | 5,03 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 63:50 minutes | 1,25 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet | Genre: Jazz | © Mack Avenue Records
In fashion circles, the adjective “bespoke” denotes custom-made suits and shirts and signifies the person who designs and constructs them. On The Bespoke Man’s Narrative, pianist Aaron Diehl extrapolates this notion to matters of musical invention. The five originals and five arrangements comprising the programme were chosen specifically for Diehl’s quartet of young all-stars: vibraphonist Warren Wolf, bassist David Wong and drummer Rodney Green.
The reference to some exquisitely dressed man in the title of this release also conveys the stylistic bent of pianist Aaron Diehl’s noteworthy debut on Mack Avenue. He is among a list of rising jazz pianists which include Gerald Clayton and Aaron Parks. The recording brings to life a project that was conceived in Indianapolis after Diehl, 26, earned first place in American Pianists Association’s 2011 Cole Porter Fellowship.
The project fully displays Diehl’s musicality—exquisite touch, phrasing, and melodicism and intricate compositions realized by equally gifted peers—the brilliant vibraphonist Warren Wolf and robust timing of drummer Rodney Green and bassist David Wong. The beginning bookend, “Prologue,” sets the tone with a touch of finesse and groove, while the remaining tracks cover fresh originals and stirring arrangements of time weathered classics.
While firmly planted in the present, there’s a timeless quality to the music, hearkening to the panache of pianist Duke Ellington and swing of The Modern Jazz Quartet. “Generation Y”‘s fragile start gives way to boiling intensity as Wolf and Diehl soar with virtuosity. Yet it’s also the sensual minor blues of “Blue Nude” that confounds the timeline as the cool melody floats lazily with vibraphone accents, Diehl’s sophisticated playing, and Green’s sweet drum spot.
Diehl’s fingers enunciate each note and phrase on the poignant rendition of Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose,” paying respect to the original to a fault, down to Wong’s bass accompaniment at the closing. This same deference is held for the Gershwin brothers’ “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” and French composer Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau De Couperin (III. Forlane),” music that is skillfully and gorgeously rendered as the piano trio masterfully works through the changes. The attention to detail and high level of musicianship speak volumes of Diehl’s savvy pianism in a release that not only possesses style but plenty of substance.
01 – Prologue
02 – Generation Y
03 – Blue Nude
04 – Moonlight in Vermont
05 – Single Petal of a Rose
06 – The Cylinder
07 – Stop and Go
08 – Le Tombeau de Couperin: III Forlane
09 – Bess, You Is My Woman Now
10 – Epilogue
Aaron Diehl – piano
David Wong – bass
Rodney Green – drums
Warren Wolf – vibraphone om “1-4,6,7,10”
Recorded by Todd Whitelock at Avatar Studios, New York, NY.
Mixed by Todd Whitelock at Valvetone at Flux Studios, New York, NY.
Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, Sony Music, New York, NY.