Aaron Diehl presents "Jelly & George" featuring Adam Birnbaum & Cécile McLorin Salvant
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Jazz Series | Sponsored by First National Bank

Omaha Performing Arts Aaron Diehl presents "Jelly & George" featuring Adam Birnbaum & Cécile McLorin Salvant Holland Performing Arts Center Jazz

Timeless classics are elevated by modern masters when Aaron Diehl, pianist Adam Birnbaum and Grammy®-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant revisit and revitalize the works of jazz piano greats George Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton. Combining lesser-known works with new arrangements, Diehl, Birnbaum and Salvant celebrate the past while tracing a musical lineage that spans a century.


Jelly and George presents the music of titans Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin through the modern lens of piano virtuoso, Aaron Diehl. The program takes us on a joyous journey through the music of two of jazz’s seminal pianists, whose compositions and techniques most influenced early twentieth century American music.

Jelly and George will be led by the program’s producer and curator, pianist Diehl, and will feature a cadre of special guests including pianist Adam Birnbaum and Grammy Award-winning chanteuse Cécile McLorin Salvant. Diehl who plays with “melodic precision, harmonic erudition and elegant restraint” is one of the most sought-after virtuosos of the decade. Birnbaum is emerging as one of the top young voices in jazz piano, having become a presence on the New York City scene, as well as many national and international stages. Birnbaum’s “variety of musical experiences have provided him with a rich melodic vocabulary and a firm sense of timing.”

On Salvant, Stephen Holden of The New York Times has written “If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three – Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald – it is this 26-year-old virtuoso.”

Critics from around the world have been effusive on Salvant! The French – Haitian singer evokes reactions like “remarkable” … “sounds as if she was reincarnated from a different era” … “perfect pitch, emotive vocal nuances and poise that seems well beyond her years” … “hints of Billie Holliday’s melancholic phrasing and Abbey Lincoln’s storytelling” 

a voice that the jazz and vocal world have rarely seen”… “stunning artistic maturity” … “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade” …phenom” … “idiosyncratic and virtuosic force” …  “an extraordinary revelation of contemporary vocal jazz” … “made the hair on the back of our necks raise”… 

Like Diehl, these operators are of the highest order, performing music that charms and captivates, and informs us about who we are. This imaginative, wholly original presentation will be sure to tickle your ears and have you tapping your feet long after the evening is done.


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