162

Jason Moran: Same Mother

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Contrary to popular opinion, the blues transcends structured musical form. Rather, it is a feeling that imbues, a deep and dark sense of despair that pervades. Regardless of the context, there was always something distinctly blue about the way Miles Davis approached every phrase. Similarly, while his music in no way relates to conventional blues form, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's work has a certain melancholy that gives it a distinctly blue feeling. All that just goes to show that, contrary to popular misconception, the essence of the blues is not unequivocally linked to the black experience.

On the other hand, pianist Jason Moran and his longstanding trio of bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits do come from the black experience. Yet as much as their playing has traditional precedents rooted in everything from New Orleans swagger to post bop, they are equally informed by neoclassical leanings and an impressionism that could only come through the study of European composers. So, when Moran chooses to do an album that is rooted in the blues, as Same Mother clearly is, the result is something different than one might expect. On the other hand, with the idiosyncratic Moran, that should come as no surprise.

There are moments where Moran and his trio, supplemented this time out by Marvin Sewell on acoustic and electric guitars, delve deeply into more traditional form. "I'll Play the Blues for You"? may begin like something out of a barrelhouse, but within sixty seconds Moran's quirky and off-kilter style starts to take things away from the norm. And by the second minute, Mateen and Waits, while maintaining some semblance of groove, are also beginning to liberally interject more oblique ideas. By minute four, while they loosely adhere to form, there's a stronger element of chaos interspersed with quieter moments of normalcy. When thinking of the blues, Moran and the group clearly have a different concept.

Moran finds blues in the most unlikely of places. By interpreting Prokofiev's "Field of the Dead"? from Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky , where a woman is walking through the remains of a battlefield looking for two friends, Moran extends the concept of tragedy and suffering beyond the black experience and into a broader cosmopolitanism, even while Sewell's acoustic slide guitar roots the chaotic proceedings, dwelling for occasional moments in a strange lyricism, in the Mississippi Delta.

Moran's own "Restin'"? seems to come from the same barren Texas landscape as Ry Cooder's soundtrack to the Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas. A similar sense of desolation suffuses this piece as the group aims more for ambience than musical statement.

Same Mother works because it presents a different view of a long-revered tradition. Mind you, that's a description that could easily apply to Moran's entire career thus far. Still on the young side of thirty, Moran has assimilated influences as diverse as Jaki Byard and hip hop into a distinctly personal vernacular, with Same Mother merely adding another voice to the mix.

Visit Jason Moran on the web.


Track Listing: Gangsterism on the Rise; Jump Up; Aubade; G Suit Saltation; I'll Play the Blues for You; Fire Waltz; Field of the Dead; Restin'; The Field; Gangsterism on the Set.

Personnel: Jason Moran: piano; Tarus Mateen: bass; Marvin Sewell, guitars; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Title: Same Mother | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "From Two Balconies" CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Sermon Organ Combo" CD/LP/Track Review Sermon Organ Combo
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin" CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Art in the Age of Automation" CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.