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An ambitiously creative musician who frequently collaborates with artists in film and dance, pianist Jason Moran is jazz’s wild card, a probing conceptualist who transforms everything he touches into a bracingly contemporary statement. His music combines jagged, kinetic expressionism and unabashed romanticism, bristling with ideas lifted from some of the less explored corners of the jazz piano pantheon. Winner of numerous awards and honors, including a coveted MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2010, the 37-year-old pianist has released a series of projects as satisfying conceptually as they are sonically, showcasing his capacious intelligence, rollicking touch, and road-less-traveled sensibility. Since he emerged in the late-90s in the quartet of alto saxophonist and ace talent scout Greg Osby, Moran has developed at an exponential rate in the company of his supremely flexible quartet the Bandwagon, honing an approach that soaks up influences and reconfigures them to suit his own exacting needs. As a Resident Artistic Director, the multi-faceted Moran is performing in a wide-ranging array of settings.
Moran’s historical engagement can be seen in the West Coast premiere of his Fats Waller project, a collaboration with renowned bassist and vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello. Rather than interpreting Waller’s ebulliently swinging songbook directly, Moran breaks down melodies and riffs and then “the band built on those fragments, in rhythms coming out of 1960s-and-beyond dance music: Motown, house, hip-hop,” the New York Times reported. This night will be a raucous party with an open dance floor and copious quantities of fun.
Looking for more information on Jason Moran? Go "beyond the bio" with the Artistic Director's Guide to Jazz.