Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jason Moran 2

Jason Moran is filling up my listening time right now.  Black Stars (see my last post) is a superb recording on its own, let alone as one more sample of Sam Rivers.  Tonight I am listening to his debut album Soundtrack to Human Motion.  This is the real thing, mon amis.  Here is the description from All About Jazz:

Innovative altoist Greg Osby, who gave Moran his start, served as his mentor, and produced this disc, appears as the sole horn. Joining Osby are Stefon Harris on vibes, Lonnie Plaxico on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. The entire ensemble is featured only on "Gangsterism on Canvas," "Still Moving," and "Aquanaut." Harris sits out for "Snake Stance," Osby for "Retrograde." Moran shifts to piano trio mode for "JAMO Meets SAMO," "Release From Suffering," and "States of Art," which begins with a solo rendition of Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin." The album closes with "Root Progression," a stellar duet between Moran and a soprano-blowing Osby. Moran employs his players very wisely, varying the combinations so that the sound of the record is never static, always in motion.
Smack in the middle of the program, Moran plays a solo piece called "Kinesics." As I listened, an historical panorama of solo jazz piano came into view. Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk; somehow Moran encompasses them all and utters a marvelous fin de siècle statement on jazz past and future, in a harmonic language all his own.
That's more than I am equipped to say.  I am playing 'Gangsterism on Canvas', which includes the entire ensemble.  Anything with Greg Osby on sax is worth listening to.  I am also playing 'Retrograde'.  No Osby, but a very interesting dialogue between Moran and vibes player Stefon Harris.
This album is a must have for any respectable collection. 

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