Jason Moran and his Bandwagon (bassist Tarus Mateen, drummer Nasheet Waits, and newcomer guitarist Marvin Sewell) speak the blues in fine jazz form on their new adventure, Same Mother. The title comes from a comment Moran's wife made in a discussion about tap dancer Savion Glover which states "...that jazz movement and blues movement in dance both came from the same mother."
Though progressive, Moran's playing has always been grounded in the fertile roots of both idioms. Always ripe with ideas to the left of the stagnant norm, this recording is not entirely devoted to blues or jazz, instead a clear extension of Moran's many influences. Marvin Sewell, who is an outstanding guitarist (noted for his work with songstress Cassandra Wilson) is a good fit to the group, adding a new dimension to Moran's fertile ideas.
From the thundering piano keys of the intro number to the raucous saloon-like setting of "Jump Up," the band lays out some authentic and stirring music. Moran delivers his trademarked sound with flurried and layered notes as Sewell impressively brings a variety of axe sounds from electric to slide guitar. "I'll Play the Blues for You" gives a nod to blues great Albert King with rowdy solos and a down home feel.
But the spirit of the blues is universal, as Moran demonstrates on jazz pianist Mal Waldron's "Fire Waltz" and a deep interpretation of "The Field of the Dead" by Russian composer Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev. The recording also includes a complex solo piece, "The Field," and the lovely "Aubade," which was co-penned with pianist Andrew Hill. Same Mother is typical of Moran's previous recordings and succeeds on levels of intellect, outlook, and musicianship. Longtime fans should be rewarded and newcomers from jazz and non-jazz backgrounds alike should take note of Moran's unique take on the blues.
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.
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