Jason Moran: Planet Rock
Jason Moran (piano)
Modernistic (Blue Note 39838)
Jason Moran (piano).
Composed by Robert Allen, Arthur Baker, John Miller, John Robie & Alonzo Williams.
Recorded: New York, April 12, 2002
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Jason Moran's Modernistic is not your average solo piano album. It is an expansive artistic vision—a courageous and cohesive investigation of music history through the prism of modernity. While remaining respectful of the many traditions he examines, Moran's unique personality shines through. On hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," Moran prepares the piano's lower octaves with erasers, paper, paperclips and clothespins, percussively creating a hip-hop drumbeat—imagine John Cage rocking a Bronx block party in 1982! Moran replicates the jaunty and angular old-school rap rhythms with a sound and attack reminiscent of Thelonious Monk. Looped chords—played in reverse through a computer—swell and breathe as the pianist, cerebral and impressionistic, counters the stiff beat with his elastic rhythmic sense. Moran's genre-overlapping adventures are a radical yet thoroughly welcome addition to the jazz canon.
Reviewer: Matt Leskovic