158

Jason Moran: Same Mother

Mark Sabbatini By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran: Same Mother Jason Moran is among a handful of modern pianists whose work often demands a listen as soon as it's released, since most other players will be trying to imitate it tomorrow. He doesn't quite meet those expectations on Same Mother, an album heavy on blues and soundtrack elements that represents his sixth project as a leader. Partially this is his emphasis on a classic down-home Texas feel, but there's also a sense of a highly tuned engine coasting at a "mere'" 80 mph instead of passing the crowd at nefarious speeds.



He opens letting his left hand dominate with a rumbling bottom end on "Gangsterism On The Rise,'" the latest in a series of "Gangsterism'" songs dedicated to the Godfather movies. But neither the low end nor his sparse contrasting right-hand scream definitive statement. "Jump Up'" is a rock/blues jam introducing guitarist Marvin Sewell, the first guitarist Moran has recorded with as a leader. His electric lines are straightforward against some slightly off-the-meter work by Moran's longtime trio of bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, and Moran kicks in with some pounding toward the end that is so over-the-top it's almost comedic. But again, the revolution isn't at hand.



Lower-key compositions make up the album's best and flattest moments. Among the latter is "Aubade,'" a piano/guitar ballad resembling something GRP artists like David Benoit or Lee Ritenour would crank out on a good day. The subsequent "G Suit Salutation'" is much more capable, with an understated intensity building challengingly to the end as blues are fused with a variety of traditional and freer jazz styles.



The album goes to the next level toward the end, beginning with an alternating three- and four-beat swing mix on "Fire Waltz,'" with plucky and yet somewhat somber lines from Moran and Mateen. The underlying moodiness serves as a transition to "Field Of The Dead,'" where Moran's thick intensity and Mateen's rapid pickings across the range of his fretboard strive to capture the soundtrack of a woman looking for her fiancé among fallen soldiers. It's so complicated the tale can and should be envisioned through the notes alone; if this occurs against a visual backdrop, then both are too dilute for appreciation.



The mood remains for the album's duration, but the pace picks up with a final "Gangsterism On The Set,'" maybe just to leave the listener somewhat near the start of the journey.



Same Mother contains enough of a traditional and modern fusion of blues to make it worth hearing, especially for Moran fans who will also appreciate Sewell's change-of-space contribution. Those new to Moran not finding it quite up to hype may gain a better appreciation for his talent—and hear this more respectfully—after listening to 2002's solo Modernistic or 2003's live The Bandwagon.


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 (Alexander Nevsky); Restin; The Field; Gangsterism on the Set.

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

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Sings the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Sings the Blues
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Storming Through the South" CD/LP/Track Review Storming Through the South
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Dream Maps" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Maps
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Groovin'" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin'
by Jeff Winbush
Published: November 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!