Aaron Diehl at Kean Stage

Last September, pianist Aaron Diehl and The Knights, a Brooklyn-based classical orchestra, released a Mack Avenue album called Zodiac Suite, featuring the 12-piece work by the legendary pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams. When I interviewed Diehl in the June 2022 issue of Jersey Jazz Magazine, he said Williams arranged Zodiac Suite for chamber orchestra and jazz band, “but it ended up being a huge failure because they didn’t have enough rehearsal, so she never played that version again.” The new album was recorded to give Williams’ music “the kind of treatment that she didn’t have. I’m incredibly proud of it.”

Diehl, who last July was named the new Artistic Director of the 92nd Street Y’s “Jazz in July” series, will be bringing a trio to the Enlow Recital Hall at Kean Stage on Saturday, March 9. At that concert, he will be performing some selections from a future album of music by Black American composers such as William Grant Still.

Known for often combining jazz and classical influences, Diehl told me that, “In any genre, jazz, classical or otherwise – it’s less to me about the art form of the music that’s being made. If it’s good, it’s good.”–SANFORD JOSEPHSON

The Kean Stage concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. For more information, or to order tickets, log onto keanstage.com or call (908) 737-7469.

PHOTO BY STEVEN SUSSMAN

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The New Jersey Jazz Society (NJJS) is a non-profit organization of business and professional people, musicians, teachers, students and listeners working together for the purpose of advancing jazz music.