Jason Moran: The Bandwagon

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran: The Bandwagon For his fifth Blue Note album, Jason Moran continues to build creative momentum. Once again, Moran stands as a conduit for a wide range of musical sources, from blues to classical to hip-hop to the Great American Songbook, often within the same song. His seemingly limitless vocabulary finds sympathetic support from two longtime collaborators, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. The tracks on The Bandwagon come from a six-day run at the Village Vanguard, and Moran & Co. continually overflow with enthusiastic discovery.

Tunes from previous collections, new songs, and two pieces improvised based on sampled speech patterns make up the set list. A brief “Intro” leads into a jumped up version of “Another One,” originally from Facing Left (2000). The complex density races along at breakneck speed. Slowing things down with a little Brahms, “Intermezzo, Op. 118, No.2” receives a straight solo reading until the rhythm section joins and Mateen flies through the stately chording.

”Ringing My Phone (Straight Out of Istanbul)” uses a taped Turkish woman’s story as a rhythmic basis for a fascinating group improv. Even her punctuating laughter cues the musicians’ imaginations, resulting in a fitful original composition. Moran takes “Out Front,” from Black Stars (2001), and opens a whole new area of variations. Its near ragtime quality gets Monked up and stretched out with playful prodding from Waits and Mateen.

”Gentle Shifts South,” from Modernistic (2002), remains a pensive romantic solo piece, here augmented by samples of older Moran family members remembering others in their line. “Gangsterism on Canvas” swings hard and gives these three players a heated exchange before the subdued coda. “Body and Soul” shows the trio’s ability to work authentically with a standard while freely pursuing their own variations.

”Infospace” also successfully uses a looped speech pattern as a basis for improvisation, here it’s a Chinese stock report according to Moran. How else to end it but a new take on Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock”? Originally played solo on Modernistic, the piece gains power here from the robust rhythm section.

Each new release by Jason Moran re-emphasizes his stature as one of the most profoundly gifted and original musicians of our time. The future of jazz keeps looking brighter.

Track Listing: Intro; Another One; Intermezzo, Op 118, No. 2; Ringing My Phone (Straight Outta Istanbul); Out Front; Gentle Shifts South; Gangsterism on Canvas; Body & Soul; Infospace; Planet Rock

Personnel: Jason Moran, piano; Tarus Mateen, acoustic and electric bass; Nasheet Waits, drums

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Say So" CD/LP/Track Review Say So
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Cloud Illusions" CD/LP/Track Review Cloud Illusions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Oblique Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique Mirrors
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 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!