Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

405

Jason Moran: Soundtrack to Human Motion

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Soundtrack To Human Motion | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

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

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar30Sat
Two Wings: The Music Of Black America In Migration
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
New York, NY
$26
Apr7Sun
Bangs Featuring Jason Moran, Mary Halvorson & Ron...
Sanders Theatre
Cambridge, MA
$58, 48, 37, 30

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019
Read Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018 Album Reviews
Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
By Roger Weisman
January 23, 2019
Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019