Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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 m... more »
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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.
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Scott Williams | Oakland, CA United States | 06/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
Ten celebrates 10 years of Jason's bandwagon band with a release of new songs and arrangements. While previous bandwagon CDs tended to be driven by a concept, this CD is just straight forward playing by the trio. Bandwagon is made of up Jason Moran on piano, Nasheet Waits on drums, and Tarus Mateen on bass. In my opinion Jason is the top jazz pianist playing today. Of course there are many other pianists equally deserving this title, but for my taste Jason is the best. His technical ability is phenomenal. He can solo equally well with both hands, and can solo with both hands at the same time. He has his own distinct style and personality which you can hear not only in his compositions, but also, in his arrangements of standards. His style is modern sounding, primarily post bop, but with a touch of free jazz, and avante garde. From both his playing style and compositions you can tell he is a deep thinker.
This is my favorite Jason Moran CD to date. The CD features 6 songs written by Moran, 1 co-written by Moran and Andrew Hill, 1 by bassist Mateen, 1 by Thelonious Monk, 1 by Leonard Bernstein, 1 by Jaki Byard (a former teacher of Moran), and 2 versions of a song written by Conlon Nancarrow. The CD has a good mix of up tempo songs, and ballads. The only area I see for improvement would be to write some bigger parts for drummer Nasheet Waits. He plays great throughout the CD, but doesn't really get a chance to show off his skills. Typically you see more opportunities for the drummer to show off their stuff in a piano/bass/drums format. Overall a great CD and a must have for fans of the piano/bass/drums format, pianists, and Jason Moran fans.
Gangsterism over 10 years - This song has a raucous Wild West swinging feel to it. It is more or less the bandwagon theme song. It features some wild soloing from Moran. During one flurry he probably hits every key on the keyboard.
To Bob Vatel Of Paris - This Jaki Byard song opens with a solo statement by Moran. The song has a very happy, "walk in the park", early 50's bebop sort of mood to it. After Moran's intro the bass and drums come in with a nice walking bass line.
Crepuscule with Nellie - In this Thelonious Monk tune, Jason Moran injects his own personality while still staying true to the original Monk tune. Mateen has a great bass solo in the middle of the tune, where the song almost turns into a blues vamp for a few bars. The song starts of very true to the original, then veers off for a little bit, and comes back to the original with a nice recap statement at the end.
Blue Blocks - This song starts of with a Sunday morning sort of feel, and picks up pace as it goes along. At one point there is a section with a barrage of cascading chords that is just wonderful. The mood again is up-tempo and upbeat. This is another great new composition from Moran.
Oh Come On!
lotus | 08/19/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"All I can say is that people should see the Jason Moran sound as being best exemplified by his earlier work, not by his previous artist in residence or ten.
I'm going to go on to say that I believe Jason Moran is asking too much of jazz fans. And it's not that I can't get the fact that jazz music is music of much character, not just to dance to or tap your feet to. People appreciate the contemplative nature of the music. Think about the album Mingus by Joni Mitchell and the song Good Bye Pork Pie Hat. People get it, and good. It doesn't have to make you want to dance. But come on, Jason why the vaudeville?
Why are you doing this to we jazz fans, Jason. Listen to your previous five or six albums and tell me what you see in the last two, Artist In Residence and Ten that would capture the attention of fans of your previous work? At least in Artist, I could say it was the eclecticism of the piece that threw me off, a lover of all of your previous music, Soundtrack to Human Motion, Black Stars, Facing Left, Modernistic, Bandwagon Live, Other Mothers. And whereas I can say that many of the pieces in Ten are extremely engaging, Blue Blocks and Gangsterism Over Ten Years being two of them, far too many sound like someone playing music in a restaurant, just loud enough to hear, but not to take the patron's mind off of the exquisite cuisine before them and lend an ear to the musician. It's obvious that your wife has had a great influence on your musical style over the years, and it is also true, I'll admit, that maybe jazz fans should expand their so-called musical palette to include classical music. But there are now and there have been in the past jazz musicians who weave classical stylings into their music, Brubeck, Bill Evans, Mingus, and even one of your contemporaries, Greg Osby. Remember Symbols of Light? But they all remembered they were playing for a jazz audience. They remembered that when their audience went into a record store, they headed for the jazz section."