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INTERVIEW: Jason Moran with Vogue Milan

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Tuesday February 15, 2011

Milan has a hard time building a vital and self-sustaining jazz scene, the few exceptions being the Blue Note, La Salumeria della Musica and Aperitivo in Concerto del Teatro Manzoni. Just this past November, a pair of great pianists played at the Blue Note, Robert Glasper, and then the following evening Jason Moran, 35-year-old Texan who lives in New York with his wife, soprano Alicia Hall Moran, and their twin children. With bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, Moran heads The Bandwagon, a trio that features intelligent, contemporary jazz. He is one of 23 creative pioneers to have won a MacArthur Fellowship. Never pedantic, Moran combines politics, civic education, pictorial philosophy and a sometimes oblique re-reading of the most disparate sounds and genres, from funk to gospel to opera. He has published innumerable albums, multimedia projects and collaborations with performance artists. We talked with him during his stopover in Milan.

L’Uomo Vogue: I’m guessing that the core of your concert will be Ten, the album recently released by Blue Note celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Bandwagon. Is that true?

Jason Moran: Yes, the new album is a dominant part of our current repertoire, but we also added new pieces like Ice Cream Castles by The Time and Blessing the Boats by Alicia Hall Moran. Our repertoire is never pre-chosen, we always make a decision as the set unfolds. Sometimes we’ll choose a song from years ago simply because it jumped into our mind, and that requires that each of us has to be on our toes to remember any song at any time. Our history is getting longer and reflection is a big part of how we’ve gotten to where we are today. We are constantly playing music of older musicians, Andrew Hill, Bert Williams, Jaki Byard: it is a big part of our contemporary sound. We are because of what we have been.

To read the full interview click here