One of the young visionaries of the newest jazz generation is Jason Moran. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, he soon started his own trio called The Bandwagon and began fusing different elements of music including hip-hop, r&b, rock and classical. A new sound emerged, one which has matured through several albums. A prolific composer, Jason has also written for a ballet company and for a multimedia tribute to Thelonious Monk. Jason is a well regarded sideman, sharing the stage with a large array of jazz luminaries from Ravi Coltrane to Christian McBride. This fall his continued success reached a new plateau when he was selected as a MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient. He will receive $500,000 to further his artistic horizons – with absolutely no strings attached.
With the proliferation of jazz education in the 1980s and the death of Miles Davis in 1991, jazz was effectively pushed into the lesser known realm of art music. It became less about the current creatives and more about the previous heros of the genre. Armed with their newly fashioned skills, students sought to bring the music back to the now. A beautiful thing happened—a new type of jazz was born. It wasn’t the jazz that the aging generation had come to embrace. It wasn’t even the jazz of the legendary John Coltrane, who many of the students had come to idolize. It was the jazz of the now, it was the voice of the a new generation. Jason Moran plays a big role in that voice, and we’re proud to have had the chance to work with him here at Indaba.