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Jason Moran's new trick: skateboarding at SFJazz

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Thursday May 02, 2013

From San Jose Mercury News

Jason Moran’s new trick: skateboarding at SFJazz
By Richard Scheinin

A child of the ’80s, Jason Moran grew up skateboarding in Houston, Texas. He did his ollies and his kickflips. And then his parents took him and his brothers on a vacation to San Francisco, where Moran — future pianist and jazz innovator — flipped out over the pro skaters who went flying past him on the Embarcadero.
“I’d call it awe,” he says, remembering his reaction to their Olympian feats. “Just having the opportunity to see the skaters who decided to skate in that city and skate those hills — it kind of made a big impression.”

So much so that Moran, now 38, has arranged for his group, the Bandwagon, to perform this weekend at the SFJazz Center with an unusual group of accompanists — eight of San Francisco’s best skateboarders doing tricks on a ramp installed in front of the stage.

He expects it to be “a two-way interaction, kind of like a joint jam session,” with the musicians and skaters blending as a unit, finding their commonalities. “It’s the pulse, it’s the drive, it’s the freedom,” he says, predicting he will “play with the skaters’ tempos and propulsions in the music. We’ll all be listening to what the sound of the music is with that added element: the sound of the skateboard on the ramp.”

He adds, “What better way to pay tribute to the city? San Francisco is the skating capital.”

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