December 1, 2016
NYU Washington, DC and the Washington, DC Jazz Festival presented a conversation with and performance by Jason Moran, critically acclaimed pianist, composer, and Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center.
Since his formidable emergence on the music scene in the late 90s, jazz pianist Jason Moran has proven more than his brilliance as a performer. The Blue Note Records recording artist and MacArthur Fellow has been described as a “provocative thinker” by Rolling Stone and has established himself as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions for jazz as a whole. This Meet the Artist program was moderated by DCJF Artistic Director, Willard Jenkins.
Special thanks to NYU Trustee Ronald Abramson and The Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation for generously supporting this program.
Since his emergence on the music scene in the late 1990s, Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran has proven more than his brilliance as a performer. With a unique vision and innovative approach to the music, Mr. Moran was appointed Artistic Advisor for Jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in November 2011 and given the title of Artistic Director for Jazz in May 2014.
Since his initial appointment, Mr. Moran has worked closely with the Center's staff to expand the breadth of its jazz programming. He established the Center's less conventional Crossroads Club, currently starting its third season, which has hosted acts such as Roy Hargrove's RH Factor and Mr. Moran's own Fats Waller Dance Party. A Blue Note Records recording artist, he also hosted the Kennedy Center's Blue Note at 75, a celebration in May 2014 of the iconic record label's diamond anniversary. Now beginning its third season, Mr. Moran's "Jason Select Series" includes artists who were deeply influential to the modern jazz movement of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond, including the great Anthony Braxton and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
With an emphasis on cross-genre collaboration, Mr. Moran has worked with Kennedy Center affiliates, including the National Symphony Orchestra to present Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, and as a consultant for the NSO Pops performances with Nas in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Illmatic. He has worked with the Washington National Opera to present Eric Owens in concert, and collaborated with the WNO Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists for an Election Night Jam in 2012. He also paired the art of comedy with jazz when he invited comedian David Allen Grier to join him for An Evening of Comedy and Music in 2012. The 2014-15 season programming includes genre-bending multimedia performances, including Mr. Moran's ownIn My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959 and The Great Flood: Bill Frisell, a performance blending film with live music.
Mr. Moran has also reshaped and refocused the Center's Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead professional development program for young artists, bringing in new faculty and expanding the curriculum to include collaborations with other D.C. arts organizations. He also teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and has been lecturer/instructor at Yale University, Dartmouth University, University of Pennsylvania, Eastman School of Music, The New School, New York's Museum of Modern Art, Banff Center for The Arts, Denmark's Vallekilde Jazz Camp, Skidmore, and Stanford Jazz Workshop.
In almost every category that matters-improvisation, composition, group concept, repertoire, technique, and experimentation-Mr. Moran and his group The Bandwagon, with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, have challenged the status quo. A graduate of New York's Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Moran was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 2010. He has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, Marian McPartland, Don Byron, Uri Caine (duo), Bunky Green, Sam Rivers, Jenny Scheinman, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris. He scored a ballet for Alonzo King's LINES ballet, as well as video works for contemporary American artists Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker. Mr. Moran also has worked with pivotal visual/performance artists Joan Jonas and Adrian Piper. His recordings include the September 2014 release All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller, TEN, Soundtrack to Human Motion, Facing Left, Black Stars, Modernistic, The Bandwagon, Same Mother, and Artist in Residence.
Since 2005, the DC Jazz Festival organization has provided enriching and entertaining jazz performances and programs that introduce students and adults from all walks of life to jazz, our nation’s singular original art form. The festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists, and provides enhanced exposure for the rich treasure trove of musicians from the Washington, DC area. Throughout the year, the DC Jazz Festival nourishes the community with free educational programs that extend our reach into undeserved communities and enhance the quality of life for DC public and charter school students.
The DC Jazz Festival is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2004 with a mission to create, develop, implement, and support cultural and educational programs in Washington, DC through the presentation of concerts, festivals, symposia, workshops, master classes, lecture/demonstrations and other programs related to jazz, blues, Latin and world music.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists offers an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us.