Desert Island Jazz
Jason Moran (2011)

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(Photo by Clay Patrick McBride)

Pianist Composer Jason Moran was born in Houston, Texas. About half-a-dozen years following his reluctant embarkation on classical piano at age six, a hearing of Thelonious Monk perform his own "’Round Midnight" made him turn to jazz with delight.

After graduating from Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Jason enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with, in succession, Jaki Byard, Andrew Hill, and Muhal Richard Abrams. Jason is now himself on the faculty of New England Conservatory of Music.

During Jason's senior year, he toured with saxophonist Greg Osby, on whose "Further Ado" Jason made his recording debut. Not long afterwards, Jason got his own recording contract with the fabled Blue Note Records, releasing "Soundtrack to Human Emotion" in 1999.

The following year, Jason formed Bandwagon, a group that continues a decade later: their most recent recording, naturally enitled "TEN", was well received. Away from Bandwagon, he has recorded with the likes of Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Don Byron, and Lee Konitz; most recently, he appears on Charles Lloyd's very successful "Mirror".

Jason's ears are wide open, and his music defies categorization, containing elements of blues, classical re-interpretation, hip-hop, funk, spoken word and voice. The last are perhaps unsurprising given that his wife is mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall, whom he credits as an important critical guide.

Jason's star continues in the ascendant. Having received almost a dozen commissions, he received a 2010 MacArthur fellowship.

Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Donny Hathaway A Donny Hathaway Collection What's Going On? Atlantic
# 2 J. Dilla Jay Stay Paid Fire Wood Drumstix Nature Sounds
# 3 Andrew Hill Pax Erato Blue Note
# 4 Muhal Richard Abrams Blues Forever Du King Black Saint
# 5 Herbie Nichols Complete Studio Master Takes Infatuation Eyes Lonehill Jazz
# 6 Koffi Olomidé Live à Bercy Rond Point Sonodisc
# 7 Conlon Nancarrow Studies for Player Piano Study #3C Other Minds
# 8 Nina Simone A Single Woman The Folks Who Live on the Hill Elektra
         
Book Short stories by Jorge Luis Borges
         
Luxury Item "I don't have one ... I don't want a piano ... I want my family, I want my kids."
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