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Jason Moran's Bandwagon forges a path of individuality that is in stark contrast to typical jazz piano trios. The artist is well known for his prodigious talent and his much-earned respect for being both unconventional and progressive in his approach. The new release is not an exception. While the true essence of recorded live performances can be difficult to capture, Moran's concert at the Village Vanguard gives an aural picture of one of today's most dynamic musicians. The new live recording may seem somewhat unusual, but the essence of the talent and wonder of the Jason Moran are intact.
From the 12-second hip-hop introduction to the classical interpretation of Brahms' "Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2," the music is anything but mundane. Moran's influences seem endless. The two compositions "Ringing My Phone(Straight Outta Istanbul)" and "Infospace" mix digitized Turkish and Chinese voice samples, drawing heavily on Moran's imagination to deliver music that is unexpected and creative.
Moran's percussive piano skills flow freely as he expertly weaves in and out of many styles. He delivers everything and then some on "Out Front" with ragtime flair and energy. His solos reach fiery crescendos or quiet explorations, as on "Gangsterism On Canvas," where the trio shines as one. The Bandwagon trio is made complete with the talents of longtime associates Nasheet Waits on drums and Taurus Mateen on bass, who are fully in tune to Moran's musical flights of fancy. They bring new life to "Body and Soul," which appeared as a solo composition on Moran's recent solo recording Modernistic (Blue Note, 2002).
Jason Moran and his Bandwagon may seem like an enigma to some jazz purists who long for the past or fear the future. Whether you want to jump on the Bandwagon or not, you've got to give props to a musician who can blend modern jazz with digital samples of a woman spitting stock quotes in Chinese.
Track Listing: 1. Intro 2. Another One 3. Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2
4. Ringing My Phone (Straight Outta Istanbul)
5. Out Front 6. Gentle Shifts South 7. Gangsterism On Stages
8. Body & Soul 9. Infospace 10. Planet Rock
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.