160

Jason Moran: Artist in Residence

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran: Artist in Residence
While most jazz artists, even the great ones, tend to stick to the tried and true, Jason Moran has risen to the upper echelon of the jazz world by constantly challenging his audience. Listeners never really know what to expect from the 31-year-old pianist except that it's going to be fresh, intellectually rigorous, exceedingly of-the-moment music drawn from a variety of unanticipated sources.

His latest release, a followup to last year's blues-inspired Same Mother, is no exception. This time, Moran looks beyond the jazz tradition, and even the hip-hop he's integrated into his music in the past, to the wider world of art. The album is based on a series of commissions Moran worked on over the past year, including collaborations with visual and theater artists.

The range of musical and non-musical influences here, often within a single composition, is impressive. On the opener, the rousing "Breakdown, Moran places a brief sample of ruminations by conceptual artist Adrian Piper over a breakbeat laid down by bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. That's followed by "Milestone, a haunting art song written by Moran's wife, soprano Alicia Hall Moran, and featuring her exquisite vocals.

A duet of Moran and the pioneering video and performance artist Joan Jonas is among the album's strongest performances; Jonas plays an array of odd percussion instruments. Piper is heard again and at greater length on "Artists Ought to be Writing, a provocative, though somewhat pedantic, reflection on the role of the artist in contemporary society. In a somewhat more mainstream vein, an expanded Bandwagon lineup is heard on the stirring composition "Rain, a Jazz at Lincoln Center commission inspired by the "ring shout from the era of slavery. That tune is paired with a deep blues take on "Lift Every Voice, the song that became known as the black national anthem during the civil rights movement.

Not all of this material works, and some compositions suffer from the absence of their intended visual and theatrical counterparts. But it's certainly thought-provoking, and there's no questioning the musicianship and improvisatory skills involved. To hear the pulse of modern jazz right now—and maybe learn where it's headed—keep your ears tuned to Moran.

Track Listing

Break Down; Milestone; Refraction 2; Cradle Song; Artists Ought to Be Writing; Refraction 1; Arizona Landscape; Rain; Lift Every Voice; He Puts on His Coat and Leaves.

Personnel

Jason Moran: piano; Tarus Mateen: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Marvin Sewell: guitar; Alica Hall Moran: vocals; Abdou M'boup: African drums; Joan Jonas: percussion.

Album information

Title: Artist In Residence | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane
Read Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah!
The Claire Daly Band
Read Artlessly Falling
Artlessly Falling
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Read Hi-Fly
Hi-Fly
Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Read And Then It Rained
And Then It Rained
The Michael O'Neill Quartet
Read You're It!
You're It!
The Mike Melito / Dino Losito Quartet
Read URBAN(E)
URBAN(E)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.