Classically trained pianist/composer and SMF favorite Aaron Diehl has made an indelible mark on the jazz world over the last 15 years. In 2011, he was named Cole Porter Fellow by the American Pianists Association, and in 2014, at 28 years old, he became the youngest-ever Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist. Diehl has appeared at SMF numerous times since 2012, performing in an array of solo and co-bill settings including “Piano Showdown” and with jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. While showing a rare affinity for early jazz and mid-20th century “third-stream” music, his latest evolution comes as he begins to tackle modern classical works. Diehl is joined by his longtime trio members Paul Sikivie (bass) and Lawrence Leathers (drums).
Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Chris Pattishall is a compelling creative presence in jazz. Recently named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the top five jazz musicians under 30 to watch, Pattishall increasingly operates at the convergence of disparate musical practices. Active as both a pianist and composer, Pattishall holds an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award and has participated in the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program and the Ravinia Festival Steans Music Institute. Pattishall will lead a quintet in a performance of Atlanta-born Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite, which premiered at Town Hall in New York in 1944. Williams was a pivotal figure in the development of jazz, forever influencing the music as a pianist, composer and arranger for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and lifelong educator and mentor to many jazz greats. Her Zodiac Suite is an ambitious study of character and mood through explorations of the 12 astrological signs. Joining Pattishall are Alphonso Horne on trumpet, Ricardo Pascal on saxophone, Roland Guerin on bass and Bryan Carter on drums.