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

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

In Pictures
Live Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
  • Ten by AAJ Italy Staff
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
  • Ten by David Adler
Live Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller

All Rise: A Joyful...

Blue Note Records
2014

buy
 

Ten

Manila Jazz Festival
2011

buy
Jason Moran: Ten

Jason Moran: Ten

Blue Note Records
2010

buy
Ten

Ten

Blue Note Records
2010

buy
Artist In Residence

Artist In Residence

Blue Note Records
2006

buy
Same Mother

Same Mother

Blue Note Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Karl Ackermann
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019