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Pianist Jason Moran’s debut as leader showcases a very mature 24 year-old talent. Early training in classical music and subsequent lessons from Andrew Hill and Muhal Richard Abrams led Moran to flirt with an inside/outside approach that borders on chamber jazz. Listening to his take on Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” you could be persuaded to toss out the definitions of jazz and classical music. Joining Moran in duo, trio, quartet, and quintet contexts is saxophonist Greg Osby. The saxophonist lends his now 180 degree turn from funk approach to complete the moodiness of this recording. The band draws from Miles Davis’ second great quintet for their approach on “Retrograde,” a subtle swinging tune that claims to be a backward rendition of Andrew Hill’s “Smokestack.” Moran, perhaps a throwback to early Herbie Hancock, has me waiting for his next offering.
Track List:Gangsterism On Canvas; Snake Stance; Le Tombeau de Couperin/States Of Art; Still Moving; JAMO Meets SAMO; Kinesics; Aquanaut; Retrograde; Release From Suffering; Root Progression.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.