Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best Albums Of 2010: Jason Moran

JazzWrap revisits our favourite albums of 2010.

Jason Moran (piano)
Ten (Blue Note Records)

Ten celebrates Jason Moran's ten years on with Blue Note Records. As with his previous efforts it is a highly creative and challenging outing. The one difference I found is that Ten is also the most accessible album in the Moran cannon. "Blue Blocks" opens with a nice dose of Sunday morning church roll call that is both joyous and uplifting.

A number of the pieces on Ten were originally commissioned for concerts/exhibitions over the last few years. So its nice to hear some of this material for the first time on disc. "Feedback Pt.2" is one of those pieces and has loads of atmospheric effects mixed with Moran's classical side reminiscent of his material on the highly acclaimed Modernistic album. Moran also tackles one of his influences with an incredible reworking of "Crepusucle With Nellie" which for me makes this album worth owning out right.

Another standout is "Play To Live" a number co-written with the late Andrew Hill, another major influence (outside of Monk) on Moran's playing. It's a quiet and emotional piece that really brings home the power of Moran and his trio. "Gangsterism Over Ten Years" follows in the footsteps of a previous number from Modernistic with complexed arrangements yet pulsating and accessible all at the same time.

Ten is a brilliant celebration but also is a shinning document and statement as to why Jason Moran stands apart from all other piano players of his generation. It's engaging, challenging and creatively far and away from any of other piano based album you'll hear all year. One of the years best albums is our listening room.

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