Jason Moran: Ten


Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran


Blue Note Records


Ten celebrates the ten year life of the Bandwagon, pianist Jason Moran's trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. The piano trio is a mainstay in the jazz tradition, and here the Bandwagon does a characteristically great job of being firmly in that tradition while also blazing a new trail.

"Blue Blocks" starts with a descending motif, planing chords in a gravitational freefall, the hint of a blues turnaround; the piece goes through several styles, using the blues as building blocks. "RFK In The Land Of Apartheid" was written for the film documenting Robert Kennedy's historic visit to South Africa in 1966. The song is built on a wonderful rapid-fire bass motif and has an appropriately cinematic feel (as does so much of Moran's music). "Feedback Pt. 2" mixes some electronic "noise" into the proceedings, subtly and effectively; the track works well in a post-Jimi Hendrix fashion. "Crepuscule With Nellie," the Thelonious Monk gem, is given a wonderful reading, demonstrating the band's amazing elasticity. There is another installment in the ongoing "Gangsterism" series inspired by Jean-Michael Basquiat, this one titled "Gangsterism Over 10 years." "Big Stuff" showcases some Moran pyrotechnics, his connection to Fats Waller and Art Tatum shining through as two fascinating aspects of his playing, demonstrating how capable he is of employing both influences within his overall sound.

Honoring those who have played a big part in Moran's life is part of this anniversary celebration. "Play To Live" was written with mentor/teacher Andrew Hill, who passed away in 2009. "Old Babies" is a tribute to another enormous influence, Moran's two children. "Study #6" is a fascinating and wandering piece by American composer Conlon Nancarrow. "Pas De Deux-Lines Ballet," a gorgeous solo piece written by Moran in collaboration with a dancer, is sandwiched in between. "To Bob Vatel Of Paris" sounds appropriately Parisian. Moran selected it as one of his favorite performances by Jaki Byard, who had a great deal of influence on Jason Moran while teaching him at Manhattan School of Music.

Moran has this to say about "Bob Vatel:"

"This version of 'To Bob Vatel Of Paris' is a favorite piece in my repertoire. I'm not sure who Bob Vatel is, but this is a lovely one on which to hear the unadulterated contemporary stride master. Jaki said his father sat him by the radio one day and said, 'I want you to play like this guy.' 'This guy' was Teddy Wilson. Jaki is big on history, and it's always evident in his sound. I love how his hands seem to roll through the phrases."

There has been a great deal of chatter about "swing" during the late noughties, with heated arguments over who has it and who doesn't, over it's place in new music, and over how to define and codify it. Certainly this is nothing new (as some of Duke Ellington's song titles prove); new vs old, tradition vs rebellion.

Moran, Mateen and Waits swing like mad, and they break new ground. The Bandwagon has covered a lot of territory since its debut outing as a trio, Facing Left (Blue Note, 2000). A sense of joy is evident in every note the group plays. Let's hope we get another 10 years, and see where they take the Bandwagon next. Hop on.

Tracks: Blue Blocks; RFK In The Land Of Apartheid; Feedback Pt.2; Crepuscule With Nellie; Study No.6; Pas De Duex-Lines Ballet; Study No.6; Gangsterism Over 10 Years; Big Stuff; Play To Live; The Subtle One; To Bob Vatel Of Paris; Old Babies.

Personnel: Jason Moran: piano; Tarus Mateen: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Modern Jazz

Related Video


More Articles

Read Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows Extended Analysis Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows
by John Kelman
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House Extended Analysis Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House
by John Kelman
Published: March 4, 2017
Read Jazz Is Phsh: He Never Spoke A Word Extended Analysis Jazz Is Phsh: He Never Spoke A Word
by Doug Collette
Published: March 3, 2017
Read Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix) Extended Analysis Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)
by John Kelman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Peter Case: Peter Case" Extended Analysis Peter Case: Peter Case
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Nat Birchall: Creation" Extended Analysis Nat Birchall: Creation
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" Extended Analysis Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon" Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Steve Reich: The ECM Recordings" Extended Analysis Steve Reich: The ECM Recordings
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Akinola Sennon: Cousoumeh" Extended Analysis Akinola Sennon: Cousoumeh
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!