Monday, August 4, 2008

Caramoor Day Three: Diehl or no Diehl

Alright, so here goes the first edition of "Stupid Caramoor Jazz Festival Puns;" Aaron Diehl, who has become known to some extent (I had never heard of him before the performance) for playing with Wynton Marsalis, played the first set at Caramoor on Sunday, and in all honesty I have no idea how I feel about it. Like Marsalis, he (literally) didn't play covers of any songs written after 1920, but there was something admittedly kind of cool about how obscure it all was. I mean, seriously, who covers Lucky Roberts any more? Who these days has even heard of Lucky Roberts?

That said, however, as much as Diehl's old-school noodlings appealed to the nerd in me, even I had to chuckle a little bit when Jim Luce, the festival's producer, declared Diehl the "face of the next generation of the jazz piano." I mean seriously, more like "Art Tatum, the new face of the next generation of the jazz piano." Clearly Diehl needs some time to develop a style of his own that didn't exist eighty years ago. Granted, he played two originals, and while one ("Waltz for Nat") could have been written by Gershwin (or at least someone in the twenties trying to capitalize on Gershwin's success), the other actually sounded kind of modern.

So Diehl won me over, mostly because of how adorable he is. He looks and talks like your very smart twelve year old cousin showing off how smart he is to the adults; maybe in a few years, when he's a bit older, I'll be able to give him a somewhat-negative review (ahem*Taylor Eigsty*ahem) as opposed to a lukewarm one. For now, he may not be a Jason Moran or a Robert Glasper, but he's alright by me.

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