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Jason Moran

One of the most inventive pianists in modern jazz, Jason Moran grows in influence and stature each year. Born in 1975, Moran grew up in Houston. He started on the piano at 6 and was originally classically trained. At 13 he heard a recording of Thelonious Monk that inspired him to switch permanently to jazz. Moran attended Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After graduating, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He also studied privately with Muhal Richard Abrams and Andrew Hill. In 1997 while still in college, Moran toured Europe with Greg Osby’s group, becoming a member of the band for a couple of years and making his first recording on Osby’s 1997 album Further Ado for Blue Note.

Moran signed with Blue Note as a leader in 1999 and made his debut on Soundtrack to Human Motion. By the following year, he was leading a trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits that was named the Bandwagon. After recording a trio CD, the group became a quartet on its next CD with the inclusion of saxophonist Sam Rivers. Moran’s 2002 solo album Modernistic was highlighted by his deconstruction of James P. Johnson’s “You’ve Gotta Be Modernistic,” displaying Moran’s familiarity with earlier jazz styles even as he took them apart. Moran has continued recording as a leader but also has worked as a sideman with Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Lee Konitz, Von Freeman, Christian McBride, Ravi Coltrane and, most recently, Charles Lloyd.