Jason Moran & The Bandwagon Celebrate Ten Years With New Album.
In 1999, the same year that Jason Moran released his debut Soundtrack To Human Motion, the prodigy pianist and composer also joined New Directions, a band made up of young stars from the Blue Note roster that went on tour in celebration of the label's 60th anniversary. At the core of New Directions was the genesis of a rhythm section--with Moran, bassist Tarus Mateen, and drummer Nasheet Waits--that would
go on to become one of the most enduringly creative piano trios in jazz.
Ten years later, the trailblazing trio--which Moran has since dubbed The Bandwagon--headed into Avatar Studios in Manhattan to record Ten, the most assured and focused album of Moran's acclaimed career, a snapshot of a mature band with a decade of shared musical experience from which to draw. The album, Moran's first in four years, will be released on EMI
's Blue Note Records.
"Ten is our first record that doesn't rely on a concept to drive it. The only concept is us as a band today," says Moran. "As our band has evolved over ten years, there's a certain ease that we now function within, an ease to let the music be. On some of my earlier recordings, I was making sure I exposed my ideas as a thinker. Now we refrain from jumping through every musical window of opportunity, but only jump through the good windows."
Befitting the man who Rolling Stone called "the most provocative thinker in current jazz," Moran draws the material for Ten from a wide variety of sources. "Blue Blocks," which opens the album with a bluesy cascade of chords, comes from Live: Time, a piece commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art that was inspired by the quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama. The elegiac "Feedback Pt. 2" was part of a piece commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival for which Moran drew inspiration from Jimi Hendrix's performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and used samples of the guitarist's feedback.
"RFK In The Land Of Apartheid" is the main theme from a film score that Moran composed for the documentary RFK In The Land Of Apartheid about Robert Kennedy's 1966 visit to South Africa and his famous "Ripple Of Hope" speech. "Pas De Deux" comes from Moran's first-ever dance collaboration with choreographer Alonzo King's Lines Ballet company. "Old Babies" gives us another window into one of the most profound influences on Moran these days, his twin sons Jonas and Malcolm, born in 2007.
In addition to songs by Leonard Bernstein ("Big Stuff") and minstrel pioneer Bert Williams ("Nobody"), there are also compositions by three of Moran's foremost influences: Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, and Jaki Byard. "Crepuscule With Nellie" was featured in Moran's multimedia concert event In My Mind: Monk At Town Hall, 1957. "Play To Live" is a piece Moran co-wrote with his teacher Hill, who died of lung cancer in 2007.
01. Blue Blocks (4:36)
02. RFK In The Land Of Apartheid (4:10)
03. Feedback Pt. 2 (4:54)
04. Crepuscule With Nellie (5:58)
05. Study No. 6 (3:17)
06. Pas De Deux вЂ“ Lines Ballet (3:31)
07. Study No. 6 (4:04)
08. Gangsterism Over 10 Years (6:56)
09. Big Stuff (5:17)
10. Play To Live (4:21)
11. The Subtle One (5:35)
12. To Bob Vatel Of Paris (6:06)
13. Old Babies (5:44)