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Jason Moran: Making Jazz Personal

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Thursday November 15, 2012

From Smithsonian.com

Jason Moran: Making Jazz Personal
By Joann Stevens

Even if Mozart’s generation had worn porkpie hats instead of powdered wigs, pianist Jason Moran doubts he would have opted for a classical music career over jazz.

Though he finds the European classical music that he has studied since age six artistically beautiful, it doesn’t move him emotionally the way jazz does, he says. Jazz, America’s classical music, has a sound he can relate to, a cultural history he can identify with, and role models, who have inspired him since he was a teen growing up in Houston.

“For me Thelonious Monk became the mountain top,” he says.

Now as Artistic Advisor of Jazz at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the MacArthur Genius Award winner is drawing on those memories to make jazz both personal and emotionally engaging for a new generation.

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