music clip of the day


Tag: Jason Moran

Wednesday, December 11th

Playing, and talking, Monk.

Jason Moran (piano), Frank Lacy (trombone), Bob Stewart (tuba), Nasheet Waits (drums), et al., live, Washington, D.C., 2015




random sights

other day, Chicago

Saturday, September 29th

tomorrow night in Chicago

He’s playing at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Jason Moran (piano), “Thelonious” (T. Monk), live, Minneapolis, 2009


Saturday, August 1st

Even in death he remains a source of rare beauty.

Henry Threadgill (MCOTD Hall of Fame, bass flute) and Jason Moran (piano), “Sail” (H. Threadgill), live, New York (Ornette Coleman Memorial Service), 6/27/15



reading table

The world she grew up in was so different it was hard to believe she was ever in it.

—Anne Enright, The Green Road (2015)

Tuesday, November 18th

four takes

“Lulu’s Back In Town” (A. Dubin, H. Warren)

Fats Waller (studio recording), 1935




Art Tatum (live), 1935


Thelonious Monk (live, Paris; Charlie Rouse [tenor saxophone], Larry Gales [bass], Ben Riley [drums]), 1966


Jason Moran (live, New York [East Village apt.]), 2011



art beat

Helen Levitt (1913-2009), New York, c. 1940


Sunday, 6/5/11

Some folks sing when they speak.

Bishop Robert Manley, Jr., Bethesda Temple Church of the Living God, Frankfort, Kentucky, 2008

Part 1

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Part 2

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musical thoughts

I think there are certain aspects of music which do not have any equivalent in speech, in particular the pulse of music, the steady rhythm, and its synchronization with movement.

Oliver Sacks, M.D.

With all due respect to Dr. Sacks (whom I admire greatly), I think maybe he should get out more often—to, for instance, churches in Harlem.


listening room: what’s playing

Professor Longhair, Crawfish Fiesta (Alligator); House Party New Orleans Style (Rounder); No Buts, No Maybes: The 1949-1957 Recordings (Hoodoo Records)

Arthur Russell, Calling Out Of Context (Audika)

Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures Volume 1 (Sound Signature)

Eddie Jefferson at Ali’s Alley with Rashied Ali Quintet (Blue Music Group)

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, Tabligh (Cuneiform)

• Henry Grimes & Rashied Ali, Going To The Ritual (Porter Records)

Paul Motian, Lost In A Dream (ECM) (with Chris Potter, Jason Moran); Rarum (ECM); Garden of Eden (ECM); Time and Time Again (ECM) (with Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell)

Jason Moran, Ten (Blue Note)

• Various Artists, Gospel Music (Hyena Records)

The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi: 1947-1954 (Acrobat)

Brother Claude Ely, Ain’t No Grave (Dust-to-Digital)

The Skatalites, Ball of Fire (Island)

Tinariwen: Imidiwan: Companions (World Village)

Ali Akbar Khan, Peerless (Navras)

Bach: Cello Suites, Nos. 1-3, Jean-Guinen Queyras (Harmonia Mundi)

Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 15, Borodin Quartet (BMG Classics/Melodiya)

Music of Stefan Wolpe: Volume Six, David Holzman (Bridge Records)

Gyorgy Ligeti: String Quartets and Duets, Arditti String Quartet (Sony)

Morton Feldman: For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh (Sub Rosa); John TilburyMorton Feldman, All Piano (London HALL)

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Out to Lunch (Various, jazz)
Afternoon New Music (Various, classical and hard-to-peg)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some
(Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
—Reggae Schoolhouse
(Jeff Sarge)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)
Daniel Blumin (sui generis)
—Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona (live sets)




Thanks and despite its brevity it is quite touching.

David [Holzman, in response to an email letting him know that he was featured here yesterday]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who else (besides, of course, Bob Dylan) has played so many different roles so brilliantly?

Miles Davis (with Robben Ford & guest Carlos Santana, guitars), “Burn”
Live, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 6/15/86

Listen to stuff long enough and it changes—or you do, anyway. Once I might have faulted this for being repetitive. But that’s a bit like faulting roast beef for being meat. Of course it’s repetitive. That’s part of what makes it soar.

More? Here.



listening room: what’s playing

Rashied Ali Quintet, Live In Europe (Survival Records)

• Paul Motian (with Chris Potter, Jason Moran), Lost In A Dream (ECM)

Charlie Parker, The Complete Royal Roost Live Recordings on Savoy, Vol. 3 (Columbia Japan)

Eric Dolphy At The Five Spot, Vol. 2 (with Booker Little, Mal Waldron, Richard Davis, Ed Blackwell; Prestige)

• Various Artists, Fire In My Bones: Raw + Rare + Other-Worldly African-American Gospel (1944-2007) (Tompkins Square)

• Reverend Charlie Jackson, God’s Got It: The Legendary Booker and Jackson Singles (CaseQuarter)

Group Doueh, Guitar Music from the Western Sahara (Sublime Frequencies)

Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 8 in A Minor, Helene Grimaud, Resonances (Deutsche Grammophon)

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 (“Appasionata”) and No. 29 (“Hammerklavier”), Solomon, The Master Pianist (EMI Classics)

Anton Webern: String Quartet, Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, String Quartet Op. 28, LaSalle Quartet (Brilliant Classics)

• Arnold Schoenberg: String Quartet in D major, LaSalle Quartet (Brilliant Classics)

Roger Sessions: String Quartet No. 2, Julliard String Quartet (Composers Recordings)

Morton Feldman: For Bunita Marcus, John TilburyMorton Feldman, All Piano (London HALL)

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Morning Classical (Various)
Amazing Grace (Various)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some
(Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
—Fool’s Paradise
(Rex, sui generis)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)

Sunday, 3/20/11

Sherman Washington Jr. (Zion Harmonizers)
December 13, 1925-March 14, 2011

Zion Harmonizers with Aaron Neville, “Wonderful,” live, New Orleans (Gospel Tent, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival), 1991

Vodpod videos no longer available.



Sherman Washington Jr., the leader of the Zion Harmonizers and the godfather of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s Gospel Tent, died early Monday at his home in Boutte after a long illness. He was 85.

sherman washington 2002 fest.jpg

What Ellis Marsalis is to jazz, Mr. Washington was to gospel. For three decades, he hosted a Sunday morning gospel show on WYLD-AM that served as the gospel community’s town hall. He led the Zion Harmonizers, New Orleans’ longest-running gospel vocal group, since the 1940s. The Harmonizers appeared at the very first Jazz Fest, staged in 1970 in what is now Armstrong Park.

After the festival moved to the Fair Grounds in 1972, he oversaw the growth of the Gospel Tent, building it into a cornerstone of the festival’s roots-music presentation. The tent introduced a music largely unknown outside the African-American churches where it was born to a much broader audience.

Until deteriorating health finally slowed him down in recent years, he administered the Gospel Tent with a steadfast integrity and intimate knowledge of the music, musicians and singers. Given that many acts consist of large choirs, the tent features more performers than any other stage at the festival.

“Gospel, even after jazz and blues came down to the front of the bus, was still in the back of the bus,” said Jazz Fest producer/director Quint Davis. “To a large extent, Sherman’s work through the Gospel Tent has helped bring gospel music to the front of the bus. An enormous debt is owed to him by the festival, and the whole gospel world.”

Davis expects the upcoming Jazz Fest to feature a tribute to Mr. Washington.

“You can talk about soul with either a lower-case ‘s’ or an upper-case ‘S,'” Davis said. “Sherman had soul with a capital S.”


In the late 1960s, the Harmonizers roster included a Mississippi-born bass singer named John Hawkins. In early 1970, Hawkins met Quint Davis at Mason’s Hotel on Claiborne Avenue and came back to Mr. Washington with news of this young music fan who was organizing a music and heritage festival.

Mr. Washington went to meet Davis and partner Allison Miner, and the Zion Harmonizers were booked for the first Jazz Fest at Congo Square. The forerunner of today’s Gospel Tent was a 15-by-20-foot open-sided tent with an upright piano and no floor, stage or sound system.

When Jazz Fest moved to the Fair Grounds in 1972, Davis approached Mr. Washington with an idea.

“Quint said, ‘I had a dream,’” Mr. Washington recalled. “And I thought, ‘This isn’t Dr. King, is it?’ He said, ‘I had a dream that I’m going to build a Gospel Tent, and I want you to run it.’ ”

Mr. Washington’s diplomatic skills came in handy. In the early 1970s, gospel choirs rarely performed outside of churches or church functions. They certainly didn’t perform at “hippie” events where beer was served. Pastors resisted the idea of choirs performing at Jazz Fest.

“The preachers were against me,” Mr. Washington said, “because people would drink beer in the Gospel Tent. I would ask the choir’s president or manager, and he’d tell me yeah. Then he’d come back and say, ‘Our pastor doesn’t want us to sing in the Gospel Tent.’ ”

So instead of church choirs, Mr. Washington booked vocal quartets that weren’t affiliated with churches.

“Those are the ones I had to depend on,” he said. “They would tear the place up, pack it out. We didn’t pay those preachers no mind. We kept going.”

Opinions eventually changed and choirs lobbied Mr. Washington to be included. “I think the choir members got on the pastors about it. Because if a person drinks a beer or something, that’s their soul, not yours. If you’re singing, you’re doing what God wants you to do.”

Eventually, a small staff was assigned to assist Mr. Washington, but he still screened most acts in person. He attended rehearsals and private auditions, offering advice along the way.

“He had never been in a role like this,” Davis said. “He was a true man of God who was not in it to advance himself or build an empire. He worked through his community and spiritual connections to put it all together. He knew who was the real deal, who needed to play.”

Mr. Washington insisted on a high level of professionalism and skill, as he knew any group could well be some Jazz Fest’s attendee’s first exposure to gospel. He wanted the music to make a good first impression.

“This Gospel Tent has brought more white people to gospel than anybody had ever seen, ” Mr. Washington said in 2002. “Now, it’s more white people than black people. And they get into it. It brings the white and black together. People get together and stand up, you don’t know who is who.”

—Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 3/14/11

On March 14, 2011 at 2:36 AM, the music stopped and his lyrics became a reality.

Obituary (The Times-Picayune)


listening room: what’s playing

• Bach, Cello Suites, Steven Isserlis, Jean-Guihen Queyras

• Von Freeman, Walkin’ Tuff, Vonski Speaks, Young & Foolish

• Milton Babbitt, Piano Works, Robert Taub

• Buddy & Julie Miller, Written in Chalk

Nneka, Concrete Jungle

Jason Moran, Ten

Steve Lehman, Travail, Transformation, and Flow

Friedrich Gulda, Piano Recital 1959 (Bach, Haydn, Beethoven)

• Theo Parrish, First Floor

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1

• Roger Sessions, Works for Violin, Cello, Piano; Curtis Macomber (violin), Joel Krosnick (cello), Barry David Salwen (piano)

• Roger Sessions, Sonatas Nos. 1 & 3; Ralph Shapey, Mutations and Mutations II, 21 Variations, David Holzman (piano)

• Yascha Heifetz (violin), Chamber Music Collection, Vol. 1 (Mozart, et al.)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh (piano)

Sinner’s Crossroads, Kevin Nutt, WFMU-FM (Thursday, 8-9 p.m. [EST])

Gospel Memories, Bob Marovich, WLUW-FM (Saturday 10-11 a.m. [CST])

Give the Drummer Some, Doug Schulkind, WFMU-FM (Friday, 9 a.m.-noon [EST]; web stream only)

Bird Flight, Phil Schaap, WKCR-FM (M-F, 8:20-9:30 a.m. [EST])

• WFMU-FM, Annual Fundraising Marathon

Wednesday, 2/9/11

clear, adj. bright, luminous; transparent; free from obscurity. E.g., alto saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green.

Rudresh and Bunky, talking and playing (with Jason Moran, piano; Francois Moutin, bass; Jack DeJohnette and Damion Reid, drums)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Listening to these guys, who’d ever guess that one is nearly twice as old as the other? (Rudresh is 39, Bunky 75.)


Here’s a track from their recent album (Apex, 2010), “Playing with Stones,” featuring Rudresh (Bunky sits out).

Vodpod videos no longer available.


My favorite moment in this next clip comes at 2:24, when alto saxophonist Greg Osby, listening to Bunky, tilts his head, as if to say, “Did you hear that?!”

Bunky Green (with alto saxophonists Greg Osby and Steffano di Battista), “Body and Soul,” live, Germany, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.



reading table

In the is-this-a-great-country-or-what department, how delicious to learn
that two great American artists—trumpeter Roy Eldridge and poet Elizabeth Bishop—were born, one hundred years ago, within days of each other. (Eldridge was born on January 30, 1911, Bishop on February 8th.)


The roaring alongside he takes for granted,
and that every so often the world is bound to shake.
He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,
in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat. On his left, a sheet
of interrupting water comes and goes
and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.
He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

—Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them
where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains
rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,
he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear. The tide
is higher or lower. He couldn’t tell you which.
His beak is focussed; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!
The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray
mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

—Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, 1/4/11

Talk about a one-two punch.

The MacArthur Foundation awards him a “genius grant.”

The Village Voice, in its annual Jazz Critics’ Poll, names his album Ten the year’s best. 

Jason Moran (piano) and the Bandwagon (Tarus Mateen, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums), live, Virginia (Rosslyn), 9/11/10

Vodpod videos no longer available.



fathers and sons

While still a teenager, Moran began studying with Jaki Byard—a relationship that lasted four years.


reading table

I’m interested in how close our orderly lives are to utter chaos.

—Scott Spencer

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