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Jason Moran: Modernistic, Historical and More

At the beginning of his mid-career, Jason Moran unpacks his evolving ideas about jazz, art and advocacy

Jason Moran (photo: Clay Patrick McBride)
Jason Moran (photo: Clay Patrick McBride)

The past few years have been momentous ones for Jason Moran. In 2015 the pianist, bandleader and MacArthur Fellow turned 40; that same year, he ended his relationship with Blue Note Records, where he’d been on the roster since the late 1990s. In the summer of 2016 he released The Armory Concert, inaugurating Yes Records, the label Moran owns with his wife, the opera singer Alicia Hall Moran.

At press time in late November, three more recordings have followed in 2017 (see sidebar): Thanksgiving at the Vanguard, a live album with Moran’s core trio, the Bandwagon; BANGS, a studio session with guitarist Mary Halvorson and cornetist Ron Miles; and MASS {Howl, eon}, featuring cornetist Graham Haynes and drummer Jamire Williams, and inspired by the visual artist Julie Mehretu. All the while he’s also worked as the Artistic Director for Jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C., a position he’s held since 2011.

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