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Jason Moran Makes Record With High School Band

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Tuesday June 06, 2017

From Chicago Tribune

Kenwood’s jazz band makes a record with Jason Moran
By: Howard Reich

The students hardly could believe it was happening.

But, as promised, one of the most admired pianists in jazz – MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran — was about to cut a record with them.

Last Thursday morning, Moran rushed directly from the airport to the recording studio at Chicago Public Media (home to WBEZ-FM 91.5) on Navy Pier, where the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band eagerly awaited him.

The young musicians knew this was the culmination of an improbable, roller-coaster journey that began three years ago, when Symphony Center commissioned Moran to compose an evening-length work.

Surprising everyone, Moran decided to write the piece for the students at Kenwood Academy High School, on South Blackstone Avenue, and to feature them in his May 2014 performance at Orchestra Hall. Many of the kids never had been inside the place, let alone played on the stage where Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the world’s greatest soloists perform.

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