Artist In Residence by Jason Moran
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When you're an early success in jazz, the temptation is to hunker down in the style that's earned you acclaim. Pianist Jason Moran will have none of that. While thriving on the edgy interaction of his terrific working trio, Bandwagon, featuring bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, he keeps reaching for new modes of expression, drawing upon sources as varied as Italian film themes, Turkish language rhythms and hip-hop. This time, he cuts loose behind smartly sampled commentary by conceptual artist Adrian Piper and waxes lyrical on a ballad featuring the operatic voice of his wife Alicia Hall Moran. Taken from works commissioned by institutions including the Walker Arts Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Artist in Residence
tells us where Moran has been lately. However highfalutin' the assignments, the music is remarkably personable, whether bridging minimalism and free jazz on "RAIN" (featuring trumpeter Ralph Alessi) or bluesifying "Lift Every Voice" (featuring guitarist Marvin Sewell). If you're looking for the state of the art--of the arts, even--look no further. --Lloyd Sachs