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Jason Moran Takes the Before & After Challenge

Committed listening

Nobody sounds like pianist Jason Moran. Yet his jagged, percussive, expansive piano language, with its hard-edged lyricism, has proven adaptable to many musical situations. Besides the Bandwagon, his longstanding working trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, Moran’s projects as a leader have included solo programs, orchestral Monk and small ensembles with such major horn players as Greg Osby and Sam Rivers. His own curiosity, and the high demand for his services as a sideman, have led to diverse collaborations. He has done Fats Waller with Meshell Ndegeocello and ballet with choreographer Alonzo King.

Moran’s most important, most transformative contributions as a sideman have come in Charles Lloyd’s New Quartet. He has made three highly regarded albums with Lloyd on the ECM label: Rabo de Nube (2008), Mirror (2010) and Athens Concert (2011). It was with Lloyd’s band that Moran came to the Belgrade Jazz Festival in Serbia in October 2011, and this B&A was conducted before a live audience at that event. Moran, 36, was relaxed and confident and instantly immersed in the process. He moved to the front row of the audience in order to better hear each track. Usually he kept listening long after he knew who was playing.

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