REVIEW Jason Moran at Ronnie Scott's

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Tuesday November 02, 2010


The young American jazz pianist Jason Moran reaches places his British contemporaries can’t
By Ivan Hewett

The 35-year-old American pianist Jason Moran may not be well-known here, but in the US he’s acquired a gravitas to rival Brad Mehldau. He’s touted as the heir to the jazz tradition by the country’s leading critics, and has just won a prestigious MacArthur fellowship.

Like Mehldau, Moran has a formidable range of reference, but unlike him there’s a feeling of resistance, an edginess, which shows in his body language. At this set at Ronnie’s he loped on stage with his trio, soberly suited but with an unflattering Thelonious-Monk-like woolly hat, frowning in a pre-occupied way. Before the applause died he flicked a switch which unleashed a barrage of voice recordings summoning up (as far as I could tell) the narrow-mindedness of 1950s America. Mingled in with the voices was a distorted version of the famous Cavatina from Beethoven’s late Bflat major quartet.

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