Jason Moran and the Bandwagon: Ten

Music Reviews Jason Moran
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Jason Moran and the Bandwagon: <em>Ten</em>

Then is now

As both a thinker and an entertainer, pianist Jason Moran has enjoyed a high profile as a jazz artist in the era critic Gary Giddins once defined as “post-jazz.”

The 35-year-old Houston native has expertly fused tradition and experimentation, tying together both ends of the jazz century in lively tunes that deploy stride technique and hip-hop rhythm with a sly sensibility. TEN celebrates Moran’s decade in the major leagues. Fueled by the expert bustle of his trio (including bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits), he’s given to expansive, sparkling showpieces; solo, he coaxes the still spaces between the notes into a cadence of their own. Homages to everyone from Thelonious Monk to Conlon Nancarrow abound, but the best is paid to Jaki Byard. On his mentor’s “To Bob Vatel of Paris,” Moran cuts loose with a rippling stride display—its sass and wit argue for the form’s vitality, no matter the era.