Same Mother

Like the blues, jazz is steeped in such tradition that players can spend decades finding their own voice. Many never do. Which makes what JASON MORAN has accomplished in just over five years of recording even more remarkable. Same Mother (Blue Note) is simply the latest in a series of—there’s no other word for it—stunning releases from the Houston pianist. The title refers to the common ancestry of jazz and blues, and Moran and his trio take a raw roadhouse blues base to levels of ferocious and constantly surprising improvisation. Moran studied under iconoclast Jaki Byard and obviously adopted his mentor’s penchant for humor and irreverence. Yet Moran commands a brainy but never boring sound completely his own, and he’s gone from being the one to watch to the one to top.

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