A Harmonious Homecoming

Jazz pianist Jason Moran landed a recording contract with Blue Note Records the same way he landed his first major gig: He got the call. The 24-year-old Houston native was a senior at the Manhattan School of Music when he was picked to play with saxophonist Greg Osby on a European tour in 1997. A year later, Moran was onstage with Osby at Sweet Basil in New York when Blue Note’s president, Bruce Lundvall, approached him and said, “Jason, we gotta do this.” The result is Moran’s debut record, Soundtrack to Human Motion, which will be released in early April. Jazz fans can catch him this month, however, when he returns to Texas as part of the Blue Note New Directions Tour. Moran credits the early jazz musicians who recorded with Blue Note, particularly those in the fifties and sixties, for laying the groundwork for today’s generation. “Making your music individual is the challenge, though,” he says. Which explains why Moran doesn’t want to be lumped with the “young lions” of modern jazz. “I’m a reptile,” he says. “I’m not a lion.”

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