There's no sound too minute or unusual for Jason Moran to transform into music. It could be the squeaking of a door hinge, a kid rolling a toy car across a floor or two people having a casual conversation. The pianist simply improvises around those sounds, and the result is some really extraordinary music. Moran isn't afraid to dabble in other popular musical forms, either, particularly hip hop on his 2003 album Bandwagon, Moran refashioned the Soul Sonic Force classic "Planet Rock" into a cooking jazz number. Finding beauty in the ordinary, mundane and unexpected is Moran's forte, it seems. Artist in Residence continues the cut-and-splice style he's perfected. He refuses to restrict himself to a comfort zone, but at the same time makes sure that his tunes are thoroughly thought-out and flawlessly executed. "Cradle Song" is a quietly weird ballad, the only accompaniment the sound of someone scribbling on a notepad. Surprisingly, it blends nicely, and only a pianist and arranger as resourceful as Moran could have done something so far-fetched. The ingenuity doesn't stop there Moran and guitarist Marvin Sewell turn "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" into a frolicking blues ditty, while "Rain" is a showstopper of restraint. Overall, Moran proves that whatever noisemakers are added from shakers and bells to little toy cars they can be as central to the music as the traditional instruments. That is, as long as you're an innovator. And Moran certainly is.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.