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    Giant Steps:Jason Moran

    Tuesday, 04 April 2017 12:05

    Written by Garvia Bailey


    The Harlem Renaissance of the 20’s and 30’s was shot through with bright, inventive, colourful artists, musicians, activist and their faithful followers.

    At the age of 14, on the cusp of the start of the Renaissance in 1918. A young cherubic fella got on stage blocks from his home in Harlem and away from the ears of his preacher father and began to play the piano...it was a talent competition and his fingers flew over the keyboards. He played a tune he had heard a few times by ear and he easily won the contest.  His name was Thomas Wright Waller “Fats" would be a name he came to later. He composed his first rag months later.

    Tunes that we have come to know and love, Honey Sucke Rose, Ain’t MisBehavin, Squeeze Me...all from his pen. His style was rhythmic and loose, playful and relaxed. He embodied a zest for life and music. His longtime writing partner Andy Razaf called him a “bubbling bundle of joy.”  Fast forward to 2014 when Jason Moran decided to take on the work of one of the great pianist of jazz, he had plenty of greats to choose from, but it was Fats Waller that he could not shake. The two shared a fervor for the instrument and a sharp proficiency laced with, of course, joy. Moran’s take on the music of his hero came together on the incredible All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller. Moran’s performances of the repertoire were spontaneous dance hall spectacles complete with paper mache puppets, including a gigantic Fats Waller head that Moran would wear to perform. Moran’s transformation of Waller’s material coupled with his deep respect for the roots he was digging into gave the joy of jazz a much needed safe place to land. Although he’s on to new material, Moran continues to inhabit that place where excellence meets elation.



    THANK YOU FOR HELPING US RAISE MORE THAN $325K IN OUR FINAL ON-AIR CAMPAIGN FOR 2017.  MORE THAN 1,300 OF YOU MADE A DECISION TO CONTRIBUTE OVER THE PAST NINE DAYS. WE WOULDN’T EXIST WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT.



    THANK YOU FOR PLAYING A PIVOTAL ROLE IN OUR SUCCESS. 







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