Jason Moran: “Ten”

There are many reasons to appreciate 21st century jazz provacateurs like Robert Glasper and Trombone Shorty, not the least of which is the stark contrast in which they stand beside the more traditionally-minded guys. Take a pianist like Glapser, whose work with the Experiment marries jazz to hip-hop and funk traditions in a way that makes him both a student of Herbie Hancock and a contemporary of guys like ?uestlove. Or take Shorty, whose bangin’ Backatown record takes jazz to the street in the rockin’est Mardi Gras parade you’ve ever heard. These are guys who start with jazz and then look outward — and I love them for it.

But then you’ve got a guy like Jason Moran — a pianist and composer whose views on jazz are less flashy, but no less forward-thinking. As a result, his music doesn’t come with any ?uestlove cameos, nor is he likely to win a guest spot on an HBO series like Shorty has. Instead, he’s a go-to guy for understated singer/songwriters like Joe Henry, and he’s won enough respect in jazz circles — solely for his mad musical skills and complex vision as a composer — that he’s now celebrating 10 years with his trio the Bangwagon, on a new recording succinctly titled Ten.

Read the rest at Stereo Subversion.

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