The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, March 11, 2005, Music

Jason Moran

Same Mother (Blue Note)

With his sixth album for Blue Note, this Houston-born pianist continues to use traditional forms in unconventional ways to forge one of the freshest new visions the jazz world has seen in ages. This time, Moran explores the relationship between blues and jazz, both offspring of the "same mother," and not just from a structural 12- or 16-bar standpoint but from an emotional and attitudinal level that opens the music up in exciting ways. By augmenting his long-standing trio of bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits with Cassandra Wilson's versatile guitarist Marvin Sewell, he affords the group an expanded sonic palette, particularly on more overt blues like "Jump Up." The album's centerpiece is a terrific cover of Albert King chestnut "I'll Play the Blues for You," which retains its original form while providing a springboard for Moran's adventurous forays. The combination of piano and acoustic guitar on Moran originals "Aubade" and "Restin'" are gentle reminders of the pianist's emotional depth as a composer. Moran's known for wide-ranging musical influences, having previously covered Afrika Bambaataa, Björk, and Robert Schumann, and here he includes a beautiful reading of Prokofiev's "Field of the Dead" from Alexander Nevsky as well as Mal Waldron's evocative "Fire Waltz." At any point in time, the future of jazz will be steeped in its tradition. Presently, it's Jason Moran's daring vision that lights the way. (Wednesday, March 16, 12mid @ Cedar Street)


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