The Bandwagon (Blue Note)
Released August 19, 2003
JazzTimes Top 10 Albums of 2003
Jason Moran is his name, interconnectedness is his game and never has the young piano virtuoso played it more rapturously than on The Bandwagon. Leading his wondrously attuned trio before a live audience at New York’s hallowed Village Vanguard, Moran cuts and pastes styles and genres like a man possessed. You’ve heard of artists who exist “in the moment.” Moran is so attuned to it–rhythmically, melodically, linguistically even, setting one tune to the cadences of a Turkish woman talking on the phone woman–you can almost hear his fingernails clinging to the edge. Providing a glossary of modern and pre-modern jazz styles and bridging them to Schubert, to hip-hop, to movie themes, he and his mates, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, aren’t shy about slowing things down in the name of romance. Even when lulling the senses, though, this stuff grabs.
1. Intro 0:12
2. Another One 8:13
3. Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2 6:39
4. Ringing My Phone (Straight Outta Istanbul) 8:15
5. Out Front (Jason Moran) 7:57
6. Gentle Shifts South (Jason Moran) 4:41
7. Gangsterism on Stages 5:10
8. Body & Soul 4:14
9. Infospace 3:41
10. Planet Rock (A. Baker / Soul Sonic Force / Jason Moran / John Robie) 9:27
Jason Moran: piano
Tarus Mateen: acousitc, electric bass
Nasheet Waits: drums
Ahu Gural: sampled voice
Andrew & Claudia Moran: sampled voice
Bennie Ruth Chester: sampled voice
Unidentified Mandarin reporter: sampled voice
Recorded November 29-30, 2002 at The Village Vanguard
Producer: Jason Moran
Associate Producer: Louise Holland
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Kurt Lundvall
This is not your typical Bandwagon…
Jason Moran’s Bandwagon forges a path of individuality that is in stark contrast to typical jazz piano trios. The artist is well known for his prodigious talent and his much-earned respect for being both unconventional and progressive in his approach. The new release is not an exception. While the true essence of recorded live performances can be difficult to capture, Moran’s concert at the Village Vanguard gives an aural picture of one of today’s most dynamic musicians. The new live recording may seem somewhat unusual, but the essence of the talent and wonder of the Jason Moran are intact.
From the 12-second hip-hop introduction to the classical interpretation of Brahms’ “Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2,” the music is anything but mundane. Moran’s influences seem endless. The two compositions “Ringing My Phone(Straight Outta Istanbul)” and “Infospace” mix digitized Turkish and Chinese voice samples, drawing heavily on Moran’s imagination to deliver music that is unexpected and creative.
Moran’s percussive piano skills flow freely as he expertly weaves in and out of many styles. He delivers everything and then some on “Out Front” with ragtime flair and energy. His solos reach fiery crescendos or quiet explorations, as on “Gangsterism On Canvas,” where the trio shines as one. The Bandwagon trio is made complete with the talents of longtime associates Nasheet Waits on drums and Taurus Mateen on bass, who are fully in tune to Moran’s musical flights of fancy. They bring new life to “Body and Soul,” which appeared as a solo composition on Moran’s recent solo recording Modernistic (Blue Note, 2002). Jason Moran and his Bandwagon may seem like an enigma to some jazz purists who long for the past or fear the future. Whether you want to jump on the Bandwagon or not, you’ve got to give props to a musician who can blend modern jazz with digital samples of a woman spitting stock quotes in Chinese.
Mark F. Turner (AllAboutJazz)