Jason Moran Fats Waller Dance Party
Featuring:Featuring: Jason Moran – piano, Lisa Harris –
Leron Thomas – trumpet & dialogue, Tarus Mateen
and Charlie Haynes - drums
@ the Love Supreme Jazz
4 July 2015
Click an image to enlarge.
Since his formidable emergence on the music scene in the late 90s,
jazz pianist Jason Moran has proven more than his brilliance as
a performer. The Blue Note Records recording artist has established
himself as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions for jazz
as a whole.
In almost every category that matters - improvisation, composition,
group concept, repertoire, technique and experimentation - Moran,
and his group The Bandwagon - with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer
Nasheet Waits have challenged the status quo, and earned the reputation
as “the future of jazz.”
Frequently influenced by the wider world of art as his muse, Moran
has found inspiration in edgy 20th century painters like Jean-Michel
Basquiat (check out “JAMO Meets SAMO” from Soundtrack
to Human Motion, as well as his ongoing series of “Gangsterism”
compositions); Egon Schiele (whose painting “Facing Left”
provided the eponymous title to Moran’s second album); and
Robert Rauschenberg, whose chaotic refinement inspired Moran’s
third album Black Stars, featuring the legendary Sam Rivers.
Moran’s debut recording as a leader, Soundtrack to Human
Motion, was released in 1999 to great critical praise. Ben Ratliff
of The New York Times named it the best album of the year and the
Jazz Journalists Association awarded it “Best Debut Recording.”
The following year, Facing Left, established The Bandwagon trio
with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits.
In 2002, Moran released his universally acclaimed solo piano disc
“Modernistic,” prompting the Cork (Ireland) Jazz Festival
to award him the 2002 Guinness Rising Star Award. Preeminent jazz
critic Gary Giddins proclaimed it “a benchmark achievement
and a profound illustration of his capacity to combine classicism
and maverick innovation.”
2003’s release The Bandwagon, culled from the trio’s
six-day stint at New York’s Village Vanguard, earned the team
of Moran-Mateen-Waits a title as “the best new rhythm section
in jazz! - NY Times.” The Jazz Journalists Association awarded
Moran with the “Up-n-Coming Jazz Musician” of 2003.
Moran topped The Downbeat Critics Poll in three categories in 2003
and 2004 - Rising Star Jazz Artist, Rising Star Pianist, Rising
In 2005, his blues homage, “Same Mother” was released.
This same year he received the first ever Playboy Jazz Artist of
the Year award. Artist in Residence debuted in 2006 and showcased
Moran’s signature brilliance with ambitious undertakings.
In the span of one year, Moran accepted and recorded three separate
commissions from three pre-eminent and very diverse American arts
institutions: The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dia Art
Foundation, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
In 2007, Moran was commissioned to create IN MY MIND: Monk at Town
Hall, 1959, the critically-acclaimed multi-media performance investigating
Thelonious Monk’s famous recording, Monk at Town Hall. IN
MY MIND examines Monk’s process of creating this seminal concert
using audio of conversations with Monk and the arranger Hal Overton.
This personal experience has been transformed into a feature documentary
entitled IN MY MIND by director Gary Hawkins.
Not surprising, the legendary Monk had a pivotal role in influencing
young Moran to become a jazz musician. In 1981, at the age of six,
the Houston native began studying the piano, but longed to quit
until he first heard the sounds of Monk, an experience that established
an early role model in Moran’s creative development. Moran
later honed his musical education at New York’s Manhattan
School of Music.
Music education still plays a central role in Moran’s life.
He is on the piano faculty at Manhattan School of Music. He has
been lecturer/instructor at Yale University, Dartmouth University,
University of Pennsylvania, Eastman School of Music, The Kennedy
Center, The New School, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Banff
Center for The Arts, Denmarks’ Vallekilde Jazz Camp, Skidmore
and Stanford Jazz Workshop.
A musician of diverse cultural interests, Moran is a connoisseur
of modern furniture design who now exclusively performs in a chair
specially built for him by the Danish designer Susanne Forsgreen.
He is also a devotee of the painter Jean Michel Basquiat whose work
continues to fuel his “Gangsterism...” series of compositions
first heard on his debut’s instant classic “Gangsterism
on Canvas.” That series reappears twice on Same Mother's opening
and closing numbers, “Gangsterism on the Rise” and “Gangsterism
on the Set,” which correlate stride and dissonance.
Moran has performed and/or recorded with artists Cassandra Wilson,
Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, Marian McPartland, Don
Byron, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Von Freeman, Andrew
Hill (duo), Uri Caine (duo), Bunky Green, Sam Rivers, Lee Konitz,
Paul Motian, Chris Potter, Jenny Scheinman, Christian McBride, and
His ongoing visionary collaborations in the art world have brought
him additional fans and respect. Moran’s music is in the collections
of both the MOMA and Whitney Museum of American Art. He scored a
ballet for renowned Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, as well as
scoring video works for contemporary American artists Glenn Ligon
and Kara Walker. Moran also has worked with pivotal visual/performance
artists Joan Jonas and Adrian Piper. The collaboration with Grammy-nominated
neo-soul artist Meshell Ndegeocello - a dance party centred on the
music of Fats Waller premiered in 2011.