The olefination of aldehydes to synthesize unsaturated ketones, esters, amides and phosphonates using diazo reagents and triphenylphosphine in the presence of copper(I) iodide as catalyst, is described. Good to excellent E:Z selectivities as well as yields were obtained for a large variety of aliphatic, aromatic and heteroaromatic aldehydes. The reaction showed also an excellent functional group compatibility and aldehydes were selectively reacted in the presence of ketone, nitro, amine, ether, acetal, thioether and halide groups. The use of a cost-effective copper salt as a catalyst is advantageous compared to previously reported expensive transition metal complexes. The method was used in the total synthesis of the scutifoliamide A, a biologically active compound that exhibits antifungal activity.