Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jason Moran: Black Stars

Thirty-seven years ago, Sam Rivers helped bolster the debut Blue Note album of a Boston drum prodigy named Tony Williams. While pianist Jason Moran’s no newcomer, the 77-year-old Rivers is doing the identical thing for Moran’s latest Blue Note date. Rivers’ unyielding personality and commitment to extending jazz’s frontiers has always been inspirational to young players. The 26-year-old Moran has resisted the easy lure of the young-lion mentality and concentrated on making highly personalized music. His teaming with Rivers on Black Stars ensures that it won’t be another trip down memory lane.

Rivers’ can still deliver lengthy, furious and agonizing solos on tenor, soprano or flute, though tenor remains his top instrument. His playing on “Foot Under Foot” immediately establishes the date’s framework and agenda. Moran’s trio includes two other assertive, skilled youthful players in bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. They aren’t content to sit back and let Moran set the pace. Instead, they engage, confront, interact and counter his leads. This interaction and tension results in songs that can be dashing, hushed or explosive.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published