Jazz pianist Aaron Diehl is experiencing a rising wave of positive reviews after the release of a new album with singer Cecile McLorin Salvant, with whom he's been touring in Europe. Juilliard-trained Diehl, who last appeared in Kalamazoo in 2012 for the Gilmore Rising Stars Series, will join Salvant with his trio to open the new season of Fontana on Friday.
Diehl sees similarities between music and language, describing the different musical traditions in jazz as speech "idioms." His path to originality has been to learn from as many musicians and mentors as he can. Only now, nearing age 30, does he say he's achieving the comprehensive fluency he's been striving for.