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Aaron Diehl

Review: The Knights Mix It Up at the 92nd St. Y

From Musical America

By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

“[Aaron] Diehl’s own star turn came in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, for which he provided his own brilliant cadenzas. The work was presented in an arrangement by Michael P. Atkinson, one of the Knights’s horn players, who found a middle ground between the lusciousness of the familiar symphonic version, and vivacious sound of that scored for piano and large dance orchestra by Ferde Grofé for the 1924 premiere. Diehl’s playing is a marvel of clarity and warmth, the voicing pellucid, his tone found and full. His cadenzas showed off his double pedigree as a student of both classical and jazz pianists at Juilliard, with dazzling passages in counterpoint, virtuosic ragtime jaunts, and moments where the left hand drew blazingly independent figures. Under Jacobsen’s direction, the Knights responded nimbly to the work’s mercurial changes in tempo and drive. As an encore, Diehl offered a sweet, weightless, and deeply inward rendition of Duke Ellington’s “The Single Petal of a Rose.””

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