The Real Diehl
This coming week the dirty dog will bring two bright young musicians and their music into the Dirty Dog. First up will be Mack Avenue Record’s brilliant pianist/composer Aaron Diehl, who like De’Sean has a serious musical bent and a classical background, having studied at Juilliard. On Friday and Saturday we will welcome De’Sean Jones, a Detroit Music Factory artist, who will bring his unbridled energy, his Oberlin Conservatory pedigree and his talented cohorts to the Dog . Don’t let this scare you. They are both the real deal. They are going to be using their musical gifts to bring us powerfully authentic jazz. Maybe having this much talent showing up the same week is proof of the claim that the Dirty Dog is possibly the best jazz club in America.
AARON DIEHL 29 years old
The New York Times describes Aaron Diehl as having “melodic precision, harmonic erudition, and elegant restraint. Diehl’s meticulously thought-out performances, collaborations, and compositions are a leading force in today’s generation of jazz contemporaries, spearheading a distinct union of traditional and fresh artistry”.
His latest Mack Avenue release is Space Time Continium. Space Time Continium is Aaron’s homage to inter-generational collaboration with 86 year old tenor saxophonist Benny Goulson and 85 year old baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley. This album demonstrates what Aaron say’s ” When you listen to this music you don’t hear generations, you only hear the musicians”. “How can we not keep those eras separate and think of the language as one complete continuum? It’s all interrelated and it’s all evolutionary.” As Mack Avenue’s Al Pryor pointed out, these are all artists whose level of technique allows them to have a generosity of spirit.
Aaron is an ascendant master whose virtuosity will be on display, but just as important is his gift to assemble an ensemble with an understanding of the music.
“He listens, he considers things, he evaluates things, he doesn’t reject things immediately because he doesn’t understand them,” Benny Goulson has said. “He’s going to go the distance. He’s going to be one of the important ones. When I think about Aaron, I think about surprises, he’s not dealing with musical arithmetic, he’s dealing with feelings and emotions, things that will move people emotionally, mentally and physically, make the head bob and the foot pat.”
DE’SEAN JONES 27 years old
De’Sean is not always as restrained and subtle as Aaron. He is a local guy and he says things the way he has learned to say things. He is described as a powerhouse. When I hear him play I think I am hearing something Marcus Belgrave has been whispering in his ear like “soar” and “take chances”. He has, like Aaron, learned from the masters and their consistent directive to feel free to roam. Like Aaron, he has paid his dues and being technically solid he is free to go his own way.
This is evident in his new Detroit Music Factory release Knomadik Reverence. On this recording this troupe of nomads are led by De’Sean on an exploration of what is possible.
My colleague Judy Adams recently wrote “De’Sean is a Visionary Detroit saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, De’Sean Jones has already done more in his 20s than most musicians hope to accomplish by age 50. These days, De’Sean Jones has reached a whole new level. His playing displays an expansive musicality. His rich, powerful tone is emotionally and stylistically balanced.
From the Free Press’ Mark Stryker: “They just keep coming. The number of exceptional young jazz musicians in Detroit these days is an everyday reminder of how fertile the soil remains here for nurturing the music. What is especially rewarding is how many of these players are well on their way to developing individual voices. Jones has an unselfconscious way of channeling his influences, which range from jazz to hip-hop, techno, rock and gospel, into something personal.”
For sure, there will be something new dished out at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café this week. It will be inspired by something old. That isn’t new.