In 2011, the jazz pianist Jason Moran was set to play the Detroit Jazz Festival. Moran’s concert was to follow the Sun Ra Arkestra. A thunderstorm hit, and Moran’s concert was cancelled. Now, five years later the Houston native and MacArthur Fellow returns to the DJF with his longstanding jazz trio. Moran started building his name in the 90’s as a student at the Manhattan School of Music, and as a key member of alto saxophonist Greg Osby’s band. In less than a decade, Moran became one of the more respected pianist of his generation--a generation that includes Geri Allen, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Reed, Anthony Wonsey, Marc Cary, and Craig Taborn. Moran has cut nine highly regarded jazz albums for Blue Note Records and he's toured extensively. In 2010, he became a MacArthur Fellow. Currently, he’s the artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center, and his last album “All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller” was nominated for a Grammy. Over two decades now, Moran has been performing with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. The trio is known the world over as the Bandwagon, and it isn’t a run-of-the-mill jazz trio. No sir. On a good night, you’re likely to hear a performance mixed with Moran's originals such as "You've Got to Be Modernistic" and "Gangsterism on the Rise," some Thelonious Monk favorites, a gem or two from Fats Waller, plus a time-honored number from hip-hop icon Afrika Bambaataa. Part of Moran's appeal is his use of sound effects while improvising. Hearing Moran improvise to, for example, two women having a telephone conversation, or someone scribbling on a notepad is truly something to behold. No telling what Moran has planned for his DJF show. Nevertheless, bank on being awe inspired.
Jason Moran and the Bandwagon performs Monday 4:15 PM on the Water Front Stage