No one invented jazz. It just growed. Jelly Roll Morton claimed he started the ball rolling, but y’all know that ain’t so. Jelly, though, sure did come up with some rompin,’ stompin’ rags and blues. You could check them out when 32 year old pianist Aaron Diehl applies his digits to such old-time gems. Plus pianist Adam Birnbaum will have his hands on hand too at the Holland. George Gershwin’s brilliant talents spun off what Jelly and his successors did. You can hear the new time results when these two keyboarders are joined by Grammy Award-winning 26 year old singer Cécile McLorin Salvant in this increasingly famed traveling item, “Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly and George.”
Diehl plays with “melodic precision, harmonic erudition and elegant restraint,” said The New York Times. He received the 2013 Jazz Journalists Association Award for Up-And-Coming Artist plus the 2012 Prix du Jazz Classique for his album “Live at the Players” and was one of the youngest performers to become a Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist.
Birnbaum has “a rich melodic vocabulary and a firm sense of timing,” according to All About Jazz. He’s been much a part of the New York Jazz scene, including the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note and Birdland and performed with Al Foster, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Eddie Henderson, Eddie Gomez, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and more. .
Re Salvant, “Resoundingly eloquent whether growling the blues or barely breathing, Salvant has inbuilt swing, an actor’s stagecraft, an instrumentalist’s precision of nuance, and an appetite for dusting off rarely performed songs.” Thus said The Guardian
They are joined by clarinetist Evan Christopher, Corey Wilcox on trombone, Bruce Harris’s trumpet, bassist Paul Sikivie and Lawrence Leathers on drums. Your ears may perk up on some less familiar numbers, revelations in rhythm and melody. The three headliners, not having yet reached 40, have 11 CDs among them. Their reaching back into the past is now.
“Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George” March 5, Kiewit Hall, Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St. Sun. 7:00 p.m. $20-40. https://omahaperformingarts.org/