The Washington Post

He’s jazzed — Jason Moran’s mission is to promote the “arts as part of the American diet”


Jazz pianist Jason Moran has been named artistic adviser for jazz at the Kennedy Center. (Astrid Riecken/FTWP)

In the next three minutes, as he sat at the piano, Moran wove improvised beauty, transforming the familiar New Year’s Eve war horse into a gentle jazz hymn. He created new harmonies, shifted to a different key, added a touch of abstraction without departing from the song’s melancholy melody.

It was a subtle demonstration of how the 36-year-old Moran is ringing in a new era of jazz.

He is perhaps the country’s most influential jazz musician under 40. He’s got plenty of street cred on the music scene, but he is quickly gaining institutional validity as well, most notably with last year’s award of a $500,000 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. In the latest confirmation of Moran’s rising cultural stature, the Kennedy Center last month named him its new artistic adviser for jazz.

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Read the entire story from today’s Washington Post, here.

Matt Schudel has been an obituary writer at The Washington Post since 2004.

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