Studio Sessions

Jason Moran On Piano Jazz

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Jason Moran. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Jason Moran.

Jason Moran.

Courtesy of the artist

Set List

"Forlane" from Le Tombeau de Couperin / "States of Art" (M. Ravel / J. Moran)

"Out Front" (J. Byard)

"I Didn't Know What Time It Was" (R. Rodgers, L. Hart)

"Daydream" (E.K. Ellington, B. Strayhorn)

"Bemsha Swing" (T.S. Monk)

"Single Petal of a Rose" (E.K. Ellington)

"Free Piece" (M. McPartland, J. Moran)

"Straight, No Chaser" (T.S. Monk)

Pianist Jason Moran stands among a coterie of young pianists — Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn and Ethan Iverson among them — who are defining the shape of jazz today. Educated by elder statesmen Jaki Byard, Muhal Richard Abrams and Andrew Hill, Moran brings wide-ranging interests to the music. Across his catalog, he's drawn inspiration from 20th-century painters Egon Schiele, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean-Michel Basquiat (the last two were the enfants terribles of their respective times). Moran can hold his own swinging on standards, but his thoughtful approach is undeniably of the moment. Unapologetically employing sampled loops from a minidisc player as a "fourth member" in live sets, Moran borrows from touchstones including Jimi Hendrix and Afrika Bambaataa.

"His technique is fantastic," host Marian McPartland says of their session together. "On the show, he played fast and furious, and also with quiet sensitivity. He's certainly going to be a great name in the business for years to come.

On this episode of Piano Jazz, recorded in 2001, Jason Moran joins McPartland for a set of duets on Thelonious Monk tunes, with some Duke Ellington and Rodgers and Hart thrown in as well. Moran also performs his original tune, "States of Art," an arrangement that arises from Maurice Ravel's "Forlane" from Le Tombeau de Couperin.

"I don't think of classical as music that can't be touched," Moran says. "We can deconstruct those composers just like they deconstructed themselves."

Moran follows with "Out Front," a pensive composition by his teacher Jaki Byard. McPartland and Moran get together for a duet of Monk's "Bemsha Swing" and a free improvisation vamping over a minor groove.

"I think that's a very creative thing to do — without going on too long," McPartland says.

"Right. It has to be within bounds," Moran replies.

The pair drops in one more Monk tune, "Straight, No Chaser," to end this week's program.

Originally recorded Oct. 22, 2001. Originally broadcast Feb. 19, 2002.



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