The Vagabond

The Vagabond

On his third Mack Avenue release, pianist Aaron Diehl gathers with bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Gregory Hutchinson for a set of mostly original music. But if you attend to the four non-original works, grouped at the end of the album, they reveal a lot about Diehl’s artistic interests and range. His classical side surfaces with a fast-moving adaptation of Prokofiev and a closing étude by Philip Glass, while his love for the legacy of such underappreciated jazz piano forebears as John Lewis and Sir Roland Hanna comes into focus on “Milano” and “A Story Often Told, Seldom Heard,” respectively. Just as Diehl leaves his own creative imprint on these pieces, their aesthetic and technical sensibilities inform his writing as well. The airy, evocative swing of “Polaris,” the brighter and more involved “Magnanimous Disguise,” the beautifully paced balladry of “Treasure’s Past,” the minor-key yearning of the title track: These examples find Diehl wringing pure, expansive sound from the piano, growing considerably in stature as a composer and bandleader.

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