Pianist, composer, educator and curator – Jason Moran grew up in Houston, Texas, and has become established as one of the most original voices on today’s jazz scene, active not only in music, but also in visual arts, film, performance art, theatre and dance – and leading Rolling Stone to state that “Jason Moran is shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz.”
He has a keen and intensely personal insight into jazz history, bringing a contemporary response to the music of landmark figures – Thelonious Monk, Fats Waller and now James Reese Europe – as well as a series of groundbreaking projects that extend far beyond familiar jazz presentation. As an example, his installation piece for the 2015 Venice Biennale, Staged – a meditation on two bygone Manhattan jazz venues, the Savoy Ballroom and the Three Deuces club.
European audiences have experienced the range of Jason’s creative practice on a number of occasions over the past decade, including regular touring with his Bandwagon trio, whioch forms the core of the band for The Harlem Hellfighters project. In My Mind, Jason’s multi-media piece inspired by Thelonious Monk has also toured extensively since 2008, and his exuberant Fats Waller Dance Party band has also toured European Festivals in 2015. He played a number of select concerts in duet with fellow pianist Robert Glasper in celebration of Blue Note Records 75th birthday; and his extraordinary commission for the 2016 Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Wind, a visually stunning performance inspired by freedom movements and cultural resistance, had a second, acclaimed performance at the 2016 EFG London Jazz Festival. His interest in visual arts is reflected by the afore-mentioned project at the Venice Biennale, and over the past year, he has performed in London with visual artist Arthur Jafe at the Serpentine Gallery, and at two sold-out events with long-time collaborator Joan Jonas as part of the major retrospective of Jonas’s work at the Tate Modern. He also has a longstanding association with innovative London-based record company and producer Vinyl Factory.
Jason Moran began his professional career playing with Greg Osby, and his debut recording on Blue Note Records, Soundtrack to Human Motion, was released in 1999 to great critical praise. The following year, Facing Left established his trio The Bandwagon, with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, and prompted JazzTimes Magazine to declare the album “an instant classic.”
Since his first album, Jason he has produced ten additional albums and six film soundtracks, including scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th. In 2007, He was commissioned to create In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, producing a critically-acclaimed multi-media performance investigating Thelonious Monk’s famous recording, Monk at Town Hall. Recent releases include The Armory Concert (2016), Thanksgiving at the Vanguard (2017) and Bangs (2017) under his own label Yes Records.
In 2010 Moran was awarded a MacArthur fellowship and in 2011 he was appointed Artistic Advisor to Jazz at The Kennedy Center, and subsequently made Artistic Director for Jazz, working closely with the Center’s staff to expand the breadth of its jazz programming, and emphasising cross-genre collaboration