Alexander Hawkins

Jason Moran

98 posts in this topic

Thanks for posting. Moran and Ndgeocello, an intriguing combination indeed. Bandwagon on board too

I'll be interested to see how this is received.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. I had a quick listen to the first 5 or so tracks... Yacht Club Swing sounds very Corea like! What i heard actually reminded a bit of Secret Agent era Corea = a bit of a male vocal here, a bit of a female vocal there, a bit of electric piano there, a bit of acoustic, some funk, some strings... Two Sleepy People really reminded me of an Al Jarreau vocal on Secret Agent...

Anyway, i'll try and give it another more concentrated listen before 'passing judgement'. First impressions = not too sure about this one. Jason Moran albums often take a while to grow on me though. I can see myself being unable to resist picking this up if i see it in a store, purely because i've enjoyed his previous albums so much, but i don't think i'm going to place an order at this stage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. Moran and Ndgeocello, an intriguing combination indeed. Bandwagon on board too

I'll be interested to see how this is received.

I don't want to be snarky about this but ... it's just irritating. Just is.

No shit this is on Blue Note, and big surprise it's streaming on NPR. I woke up cranky, but really, this is dumb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. Moran and Ndgeocello, an intriguing combination indeed. Bandwagon on board too

I'll be interested to see how this is received.

I don't want to be snarky about this but ... it's just irritating. Just is.

No shit this is on Blue Note, and big surprise it's streaming on NPR. I woke up cranky, but really, this is dumb.

That's sad. You must truly lead a tough life! If that's the case, the following "news" may make it even tougher for you. Don't look now, but Moran is just one of the "newer" pianists currently being targeted by Eicher (yes, the Manfred of the "dreamy, new-agey, sonically impotent" Eichers) as his latest "go to's". The others -- the all of a sudden new version of Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum all rolled into one, Craig Taborn, and the new Pi stud, David Virelles. Sleep well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not understand a word of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. Moran and Ndgeocello, an intriguing combination indeed. Bandwagon on board too

I'll be interested to see how this is received.

I don't want to be snarky about this but ... it's just irritating. Just is.

No shit this is on Blue Note, and big surprise it's streaming on NPR. I woke up cranky, but really, this is dumb.

I'm not too sure what's 'dumb'. My post? The concept of Moran, Meshell and Bandwagon together? The concept of the album or the music itself.

It's on Blue Note because Moran's been signed to them for a couple of album's worth already

As soon as I heard it I thought this would create strong reactions - the groove and the musical style seems to do so especially amongst keepers of the Jazz flame (not referring to colinmce here). I'd expected comments about 'popularism' and maybe comparisons to Glasper's recent work. I like what Moran does and i like what Ndgeocello does (most of the time) so I'm hanging in.

I'll be giving it some more listens not least because like Xybert I tend to find longer listening to Moran pays dividends.

Edited by mjazzg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to stream this as I've had it pre-ordered and will wait to hear the disc. Interesting concept and players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Earlier this year, I saw a version of Jason Moran's Fats Waller Dance Party in San Antonio. Ndgeocello, with whom I'm not familiar, was not present or part of the band, which consisted of Jason Moran on piano and electric keyboards, Taurus Mateen on electric bass, plus drums (not Nasheet Waits, but a very fine drummer nonetheless), trumpet and vocals. The vocalist was a woman from Houston who was a fairly traditional jazz vocalist. The concert was a complete blast; the group swung like mad; the compositions were great, of course. I enjoyed the experience greatly, but wondered if the record would turn out as good as the concert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. Moran and Ndgeocello, an intriguing combination indeed. Bandwagon on board too

I'll be interested to see how this is received.

I don't want to be snarky about this but ... it's just irritating. Just is.

No shit this is on Blue Note, and big surprise it's streaming on NPR. I woke up cranky, but really, this is dumb. I'm not too sure what's 'dumb'. My post? The concept of Moran, Meshell and Bandwagon together? The concept of the album or the music itself.

It's on Blue Note because Moran's been signed to them for a couple of album's worth already

As soon as I heard it I thought this would create strong reactions - the groove and the musical style seems to do so especially amongst keepers of the Jazz flame (not referring to colinmce here). I'd expected comments about 'popularism' and maybe comparisons to Glasper's recent work. I like what Moran does and i like what Ndgeocello does (most of the time) so I'm hanging in.

I'll be giving it some more listens not least because like Xybert I tend to find longer listening to Moran pays dividends.

Rest assured, it's not your post. I'll explain my feelings in a bit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must admit I liked Moran's earlier Blue Note albums better - what made him interesting was that he was playing almost outside as much as with classical romantic and modern jazz undertones - he does it very well, but I found Marcus Roberts' tributes to older styles much more fascinating than these collage type combinations. At least he's not as bland as Glasper (just my opinion, of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This just feels like a "straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back" situation for me, and I guess it's just a accident that it's localized around a Jason Moran record. I have no beef with him (or, uh, ECM, Craig Taborn, or David Vierelles for that matter). I know his interest in the music of Fats Waller goes back a long time, and he's a true scholar. I'm sure the record is just fine, and certainly much better than it would've been if made by someone else.

But this NPR bullshit? Fuck it. Fuck them. They couldn't kill the music faster if they tried.

Or should I say "Music". Because how can it possibly be worth your time and attention without the ever-precious angle? Who is this a tribute to? What non-jazz personality is "collaborating"? How, oh how will we connect it to the past? Or what fusion brings in the "present"? OK, we'll skip the conceits if it's an octegenarian, that's hook enough... And then there's the closed loop aspect: Newport, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton, Piano Jazz... And the quotas: singers, latin jazz, and cultural fusion... Anything in the WORLD to avoid dealing with people engaged in the stultifying act of writing and performing new music in and of the present moment.

It might be hard to believe I'm not just on some pro-avant garde crusade, but I think people confuse AG with contemporary jazz more often than not. A free improvisation from Mark Sanders, John Edwards, and John Tilbury is worlds away from the new Sylvie Courvosier trio, or even Anti-House, or Sun Rooms. So I'm not simply saying mainstream outlets should feature more avant garde jazz (though let it be said that public radio in Europe has been a primary outlet for that music for over 40 years). All I want to know is what they think is wrong with plain old original music? Why is that so bad? And to go back to my "more harm than good" assertion: jazz gets little to no attention anywhere else. Not in independent music media (a whole other thing I will post about another time), not on TV, not in what little entertainment print is left. NPR is failing the music as well as the audience by presenting jazz this way. No wonder people think it's a dead music.

Sorry to derail the thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is avant garde jazz "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not? We're talking about mature art forms here.

Practically speaking, public perceptions of jazz as a "dead music" are not going to change regardless of what NPR plays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point being made is that the "new" Jason Moran music is something of a collage. We've seen this before. The aging rock band that adds background vocalists. The jazz record with vocalists on a few tracks. Cheesy synth or poor electric piano. Put a "name" on the record to "lure" in the buyers.

Is there a "smooth track"?? Maybe next he guests Botti or Boney James?!?!

I have a hard time with marketing projects. I'm not sure this is one but it smells like one. Fwiw as a qualifier of sorts, I liked a couple of the early Moran records - but he never got me excited.

Big difference from new music even in a mature art form.

Barre Phillips is 80 and he played some shit last night I have never heard before by him or any other bassist. Same goes for the two drummers last night and one of them (Sorey) I saw last Friday and the version last night although the same at the core, took an approach that fit the band, the moment, his moment and the environment

Edited by Steve Reynolds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is avant garde jazz "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not? We're talking about mature art forms here.

Practically speaking, public perceptions of jazz as a "dead music" are not going to change regardless of what NPR plays.

As to the second point, probably not, but how can we say?

As to the first, again, this is not an avant garde vs. mainstream thing. Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, or Mike Reed are not working in strictly avant garde contexts. Neither is Sylvie Courvoisier, nor Tarbaby or Trio 3, nor Nicole Mitchell, Steve Lehman, Tony Malaby, Angelica Sanchez, Wadada Leo Smith, Dennis Gonzalez, Harris Eisenstadt ... It's a question of accurately representing the landscape of modern jazz. If you like the new Dave Douglas & Uri Cane record, there's nothing that would scare you away from anyone I listed above. There's no reason to ignore what's actually happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I want to know is what they think is wrong with plain old original music? Why is that so bad? And to go back to my "more harm than good" assertion: jazz gets little to no attention anywhere else. Not in independent music media (a whole other thing I will post about another time), not on TV, not in what little entertainment print is left. NPR is failing the music as well as the audience by presenting jazz this way. No wonder people think it's a dead music.

I get where you're coming from. I'm not that familiar with NPR or what the expectations of them generally are, but i get the 'more harm than good' angle in terms of how jazz is generally presented to the public in the mainstream media (the press but also fictional movies, TV etc), and that it unfortunately gets no coverage elsewhere. I've often thought that there is a lot of contemporary jazz/improv/whatever that has the potential to appeal to a much wider audience, especially the 'alternative' audience, if only it was covered in a matter of fact way amongst all the other types of music. As it is it's not reported, at all. But then jazz is lousy at promoting itself, let alone anyone else. I could see Steve Lehman, Jason Adasiewicz all those guys on stage at festivals that mainly feature electronica, indie rock and hip hop. But, just saying. I really don't want to get in to a massive discussion about whether jazz has the potential to be more popular, whether that matters, if it was to become popular what types of jazz are more worthy of that honour than others, whether it has the right to be more popular, whether anyone actually wants that or who cares, whether it would actually be a good thing, whether good or bad exist or are just human concepts. All i'm saying is i can relate to what you are saying.

I had the afternoon off work yesterday and decided to listen to All Rise in full. It's growing on me, started to hear a bit more of that Jason Moran flavour that i know and love.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is avant garde jazz "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not? We're talking about mature art forms here.

Practically speaking, public perceptions of jazz as a "dead music" are not going to change regardless of what NPR plays.

As to the second point, probably not, but how can we say?

As to the first, again, this is not an avant garde vs. mainstream thing. Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, or Mike Reed are not working in strictly avant garde contexts. Neither is Sylvie Courvoisier, nor Tarbaby or Trio 3, nor Nicole Mitchell, Steve Lehman, Tony Malaby, Angelica Sanchez, Wadada Leo Smith, Dennis Gonzalez, Harris Eisenstadt ... It's a question of accurately representing the landscape of modern jazz. If you like the new Dave Douglas & Uri Cane record, there's nothing that would scare you away from anyone I listed above. There's no reason to ignore what's actually happening.

Shrug. I still don't understand why you believe these guys are making "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not. Seems like this boils down to "music I like" and "music I don't like".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is avant garde jazz "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not? We're talking about mature art forms here.

Practically speaking, public perceptions of jazz as a "dead music" are not going to change regardless of what NPR plays.

As to the second point, probably not, but how can we say?

As to the first, again, this is not an avant garde vs. mainstream thing. Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, or Mike Reed are not working in strictly avant garde contexts. Neither is Sylvie Courvoisier, nor Tarbaby or Trio 3, nor Nicole Mitchell, Steve Lehman, Tony Malaby, Angelica Sanchez, Wadada Leo Smith, Dennis Gonzalez, Harris Eisenstadt ... It's a question of accurately representing the landscape of modern jazz. If you like the new Dave Douglas & Uri Cane record, there's nothing that would scare you away from anyone I listed above. There's no reason to ignore what's actually happening.

Shrug. I still don't understand why you believe these guys are making "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not. Seems like this boils down to "music I like" and "music I don't like".

perhaps because the album featured on NPR is a tribute to Fats Waller?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's my only point. This is why it's incredibly frustrating to try and make a point on the internet: either/or, if-this-then-that thinking. I said outright I like Jason Moran's music. I said this is not about him, but about press coverage, NPR in particular. I think Jason Moran is a very original player who's original music is very strong. And I bet this Fats Waller thing is just fine in its own way even if it's not my thing. What I'm saying is that projects like this are what gets the attention, not plain old music.

Let's take Dave Douglas as an example, one of NPR's golden boys (again FYI, I think Dave Douglas is phenomenal). His album Be Still, which featured a vocalist, a hook about Celtic songs, and a backstory about Douglas' family got plenty of attention. His new project with Uri Cane which has some other sort of conceit about old song forms or whatever: also lavished with attention by NPR. The one in-between, a plain old book of music for his new quintet: not so interested all of a sudden. That's all I'm trying to get at here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I don't have a problem with NPR.

I do have a problem with these "mish-mosh" types of projects.

Just me, I suppose.

BTW, I do like Be Still FWIW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meshell Ndegeocello is a not-uninteresting musician, but this whole "re-imaging" thing...really? Would this Fats Waller thing have happened had it not been commissioned?

I'm not gonna knock great players getting good money, but there's a part of me that still figures that music from the gut is best incentivized by the gut, and once other factors begin to come into play as far as incentivization, things change, they have to. I know the centuries old tradition of patronage and commercial considerations all that, but still...ain't too much f anything, ever, really "pure"..I guess I hope that everybody gets paid and that good things happen, and that the difference between having a vision and hustling to get it realized is not the same thing as getting paid to realize somebody else's vision. I mean, yes, let's hear it for sidepeoples, you get no music without sidepeoples, but, call me old-fashioned, I think the best vision for a leader to realize is one's own.

Jason Moran & Meshell Ndegeocello...no reason why that shouldn't happen. No reason why lot more things "like that" shouldn't happen. Hell, they should happen more than they do. But what's the instigation, that's what I can't help but ask.

Anyway, yeah, everybody get paid, and bon appeteat!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is avant garde jazz "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not? We're talking about mature art forms here.

Practically speaking, public perceptions of jazz as a "dead music" are not going to change regardless of what NPR plays.

As to the second point, probably not, but how can we say?

As to the first, again, this is not an avant garde vs. mainstream thing. Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, or Mike Reed are not working in strictly avant garde contexts. Neither is Sylvie Courvoisier, nor Tarbaby or Trio 3, nor Nicole Mitchell, Steve Lehman, Tony Malaby, Angelica Sanchez, Wadada Leo Smith, Dennis Gonzalez, Harris Eisenstadt ... It's a question of accurately representing the landscape of modern jazz. If you like the new Dave Douglas & Uri Cane record, there's nothing that would scare you away from anyone I listed above. There's no reason to ignore what's actually happening. Shrug. I still don't understand why you believe these guys are making "original music" in a way that Jason Moran is not. Seems like this boils down to "music I like" and "music I don't like".

perhaps because the album featured on NPR is a tribute to Fats Waller?

Tributes in jazz have a long history, right? I could understand the "original music" beef if this was some sort of unimaginative repertory regurgitation, but that doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, the tone of complaints in this thread seem to come from the opposite direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I want to know is what they think is wrong with plain old original music? Why is that so bad? And to go back to my "more harm than good" assertion: jazz gets little to no attention anywhere else. Not in independent music media (a whole other thing I will post about another time), not on TV, not in what little entertainment print is left. NPR is failing the music as well as the audience by presenting jazz this way. No wonder people think it's a dead music.

I get where you're coming from. I'm not that familiar with NPR or what the expectations of them generally are, but i get the 'more harm than good' angle in terms of how jazz is generally presented to the public in the mainstream media (the press but also fictional movies, TV etc), and that it unfortunately gets no coverage elsewhere. I've often thought that there is a lot of contemporary jazz/improv/whatever that has the potential to appeal to a much wider audience, especially the 'alternative' audience, if only it was covered in a matter of fact way amongst all the other types of music. As it is it's not reported, at all. But then jazz is lousy at promoting itself, let alone anyone else....

But it is this way about everything, not just jazz. I'll stumble across some blog and it is quite interesting, but the exact same thing will blow up if some celebrity posted it or eve just pointed to it. While there are few official gate-keepers anymore (in the sense that anyone can publish writing or put music out for free nowadays), taste makers matter even more than before. I think it is having a strong hook (or schtick) and a willingness and knack for self-promotion (and that I certainly don't have).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems to be about getting noticed in a market with a lot of supply but limited demand.

We're awash with piano trios in Britain and every month we're told of another incredible one from the continent. The ones I've heard sound like excellent musicians but with that volume how do you tell them apart? Advertising yourself as the Fred Bloggs Trio will make you indistinguishable from the Minnie Mouse Trio to the causual observer scanning the press for a concert to go to. But the 'Fred Bloggs Trio Play Fats Waller' will include a point of reference to many more listeners.

I notice this a lot on the local jazz club scene here. In fact one of Britain's most successful live pulls, Alan Barnes, seems to do one of these every other album (and very enjoyably).

I suspect it's economic reality that leads to these things; finding an angle to get you noticed above the flood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.