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Review: Jason Moran riffs on legacy of Fats Waller

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Monday June 06, 2016

From The Post and Courier

Jason Moran riffs on legacy of Fats Waller

On Saturday night, composer-pianist Jason Moran transformed the Cistern Yard into a classroom. His students were audience members, and his lesson was in the three Fs: Funk, Family and Fats.

Moran presented the “Fats Waller Dance Party,” wherein he and his four-piece band played selected tunes from the experimental 2014 album, “All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller,” and encouraged patrons to stand up and be joyful.

The music was not meant for everyone, though. Moran’s compositions, as he said at the beginning of the show, “shoot Fats Waller through a couple different prisms.” These certainly aren’t straightforward covers of tunes by the Harlem Depression-era pianist. They’re adventurous, funky, vaguely psychedelic arrangements of Waller’s jazz standards, such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” and “Yacht Club Swing.”

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