404

Jason Moran: Soundtrack to Human Motion

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran: Soundtrack to Human Motion Can we all just agree that this is the debut of the year, if not the record of the year? Jazz has seen its share of excellent young players, but 24-year-old pianist Jason Moran really raises the bar with his superb Soundtrack to Human Motion. Moran explains the title as follows: "I like to think this recording could serve as the soundtrack to all movements a human might make in a given dayï." If only my daily movements were anywhere near as graceful and beautiful and fascinating as this album.

Moran has been recording as a sideman for a whopping two years. Many struggle a lifetime to attain his level of mastery. With his piano playing no less than his writing and arranging, Moran has already crafted a distinctive jazz voice, and it shines through on this CD from the first note to the last.

Innovative altoist Greg Osby, who gave Moran his start, served as his mentor, and produced this disc, appears as the sole horn. Joining Osby are Stefon Harris on vibes, Lonnie Plaxico on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. The entire ensemble is featured only on "Gangsterism on Canvas," "Still Moving," and "Aquanaut." Harris sits out for "Snake Stance," Osby for "Retrograde." Moran shifts to piano trio mode for "JAMO Meets SAMO," "Release From Suffering," and "States of Art," which begins with a solo rendition of Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin." The album closes with "Root Progression," a stellar duet between Moran and a soprano-blowing Osby. Moran employs his players very wisely, varying the combinations so that the sound of the record is never static, always in motion.

Smack in the middle of the program, Moran plays a solo piece called "Kinesics." As I listened, an historical panorama of solo jazz piano came into view. Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk; somehow Moran encompasses them all and utters a marvelous fin de siècle statement on jazz past and future, in a harmonic language all his own.

No doubt Moran's imagination will take him down many interesting roads. His influences are drawn from art, literature, and theater, as well as from classical music all the way to hip-hop. This is a critical broad-mindedness, though, not an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to the creative enterprise. Moran simply knows talent for what it is, wherever it comes from. So when he mentions a desire to work with pop singer Björk and hip-hop's MC Saafir, one gets the feeling he's not talking about some ordinary crossover project. Watch this man closely and see what develops.


Track Listing: Gangsterism Oncanvas; Snake Stance; Le Tombeau de Couperin (States of Art); Still Moving; Jamo Meets Samo; Kinescis; Aquanaut; Retrograde; Release from Suffering; Root Progression.

Personnel: Jason Moran: piano; Greg Osby: alto and soprano saxophones; Stefon Harris: vibraphone; Lonnie Plaxico: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

| 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 "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Leaps In Leicester" CD/LP/Track Review Leaps In Leicester
by John Sharpe
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Checking Out" CD/LP/Track Review Checking Out
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "#knowingishalfthebattle" CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Live At Maxwell's" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Maxwell's
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 23, 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!