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For Jazz Pianist Jason Moran, the Future of Jazz Includes Fats Waller

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Friday February 05, 2016

From Los Angeles Magazine

For Jazz Pianist Jason Moran, the Future of Jazz Includes Fats Waller
By Craig Byrd

According to pianist Jason Moran, jazz legend Fats Waller “was a party animal.” Waller, who wrote classics like “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Honeysuckle Rose,” died young, but he left behind a piano style and a catalog of music that has been embraced for nearly one hundred years. Moran will be celebrating Waller’s music and putting a contemporary spin on it when he presents Fats Waller Dance Party at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

“Every once in a while people still recognize [his music],” Moran says. “Certain people can hear the songs without knowing who he was. From my own piano history, it is important to keep those traditions going. What I started to understand about the show, as I would perform it, is that I would have to take care of that music and transmit it to the audience on the right level. That’s what a DJ does in a club: get the audience to dance or sing or clap along. That was something Fats Waller was able to tap into more often—his relationship with the audience.”

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