Mike Moreno: Jazz Guitar 'Between the Lines'


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  • Mike Moreno: guitar
  • John Ellis: saxophones
  • Randy Ingram: piano
  • Doug Weiss: bass
  • Kendrick Scott: drums


  • Producer: Josh Jackson
  • Mix: Darren Jones, assisted by David Tallacksen

Just the Music

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Moreno (300)

Mike Moreno. Lafiya Watson hide caption

itoggle caption Lafiya Watson

I have no idea what's in the water in Houston. Not only is the city a major hub of the country's energy sector, but much of the new energy in jazz has come from Space City. In recent years, several budding jazz greats have graduated from the Houston School of Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), a place where young creatives learn their craft.

Mike Moreno graduated from HSPVA, and he's making noise after spending a decade in New York. More to the point, he's actually making great music, and that's the source of the buzz surrounding the young jazz guitarist.

What strikes me most about Moreno is that he is such a gifted composer. His music creates a space where echoes of the impressionistic composer Maurice Ravel, Radiohead, and jazz composer Wayne Shorter commingle freely. Moreno recently came to WBGO with a quintet, and they played three of his originals. "World of the Marionettes" is one of the best titles I've heard in a while; on that song, there's no question that it's Moreno who holds the strings.

"Old Wise Tale" comes right out of the 1960s Miles Davis Quintet playbook, with a simple melody repeating throughout. The last one, "Forward and Back," is the best example of where Moreno's music is headed: more forward than backward.

Moreno released Between the Lines, his debut recording, on World Culture Music, a label run by a handful of artists who believe in the DIY approach to making music and releasing it to the public.

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