Jason Moran Returns to Monk at Town Hall
Moran's "Crepescule with Nellie" deliberately broke with Monk's minimalist precedent. Monk never soloed over "Crepescule," honoring the melody with faithful repetition, while Moran offered the song as an impression, barely hinting at the melody. Yet Moran's interpretation of "Crepescule" managed to sound Monkish even as he played almost none of Monk's notes. As inimitable as his music was, it's doubtful any other jazz composer has ever matched Monk's ability to craft pieces that are at once so malleable, allowing for infinite reworkings and reimaginings, and so unshakably personal. Throughout the concert, Moran investigated that unalterable strain of Monk DNA—demonstrating its strength in his varied approaches to Monk's compositions, searching for its roots in Monk's history and voice, and ultimately celebrating its power as the Big Bandwagon descended from the stage and marched towards Town Hall's lobby as an ecstatic encore.