Since his groundbreaking entrance on the music scene in the late 90s, jazz pianist Jason Moran has proven more than his share of genius as a performer, even earning him a Macarthur Genius Grant. The Blue Note Records recording artist has established himself as a true innovator with his distinct and unique brand of jazz music. “Jason Moran [is] shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz” says Rolling Stone. Catch a one hour set performed by his trio, The Bandwagon, with Tarus Mateen on electric bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, recorded at the Kennedy Center in 2013. Video, courtesy of NPR Music, expires in one week.
The Bandwagon kicks off the set with, “Honeysuckle Rose” by Fats Waller, performing a fun and inventive take of the standard, propelled by the complex rhythms of Waits.
A short interlude follows featuring samples and beatboxing before “I’ll Play The Blues For You” by Jerry Beach is played. A slow introspective intro turns into a very contemporary segment before Moran plays a groovy swinging vamp which is then picked up by Mateen as Moran turns to the melody. A beautiful quiet solo by Moran then picks up in pace as the whole band gets louder to finally reach a frenetic climax.
Next up is “The Subtle One” by Tarus Mateen, a mysterious and passionate ballad, featuring a deep and intricate solo by Mateen over the floating chords of Moran and the subtle brushes of Waits before the piece ends abruptly.
“Lulu’s Back In Town” by Harry Warren & Al Dubin features a traditional feel with walking bass and swinging drums which then evolves into a chaotic solo by Moran.
“Foot Under Foot” by Jason Moran begins with a busy and mesmerizing drum intro by Waits before Moran comes in at a furious pace only to slow everything down to a languishing crawl before slowly building up back to a rapid frenzy.
The set ends with “Crepuscule With Nellie” by Thelonious Monk played by the trio over a sound clip of Monk tap dancing. The highlight of this track belongs to Mateen who scatts as he plays a dizzying bass solo.
This is a solid performance by one of today’s leading jazz trios displaying a true breadth of musical genius. Well worth watching!