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Jason Moran: Kennedy Center’s Jazz Man

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Monday January 09, 2012

from Loop 21

Meet the Kennedy Center’s New Jazz Man
By Keli Goff

“Genius” Jason Moran talks Jay-Z, President Obama and The Roots with The Loop

For many, watching The Kennedy Center Honors, the annual celebration of the world’s greatest artists hosted by the President and First Lady, has become a holiday staple, right up there with relaxing and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” While Jason Moran was among those who enjoyed this year’s Honors he was not among those relaxing and taking it easy.

Instead Moran was gearing up for his greatest professional challenge, what one might call his very own Kennedy Center “honor.” He was recently named the new artistic adviser for jazz for the Kennedy Center, one of the world’s leading artistic institutions. The designation caps off a stellar few years for Moran, who was awarded a coveted MacArthur fellowship in 2010. The awards are known colloquially as “Genius Awards” because of how competitive the $500,000 fellowships are to receive.

Both honors have firmly established Moran as one of the most influential jazz musicians in the world. His accomplishments — all before the age of 40 — mean it is quite possible that Moran will find himself seated alongside the President and First Lady as a Kennedy Center honoree one day. The 36-year-old Houston native spoke with Loop 21 about his favorite musicians and what he would suggest President Obama add to his iPod. [Also read about Moran’s wife “Broadway’s Next Big Star: Alicia Hall Moran”]

Loop 21: What was the last song you added to your ipod?

Jason Moran: The Roots record that I got yesterday, “Undun” their conceptual album about the life and death of someone.

Read the full article here