Too many jazz pianists have surrendered to the unyielding bulk of the instrument, relying on standards with flourished chording, tranquilly delivered. They fashion themselves heirs to greats like Bill Evans but sometimes end up closer to Liberace. It takes real gumption to push that hunk of wood and wire around. The short list of players who have succeeded have made some thrilling music, and their lineage points straight to Jason Moran. The Houston native has always shown dizzying talent, but when he joined forces a decade ago with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits to form Bandwagon, his music became truly extraordinary. Ten (Blue Note) marks the trio’s anniversary with a set that highlights their melodic yet explosive sound on pieces by Thelonious Monk, Moran’s onetime teachers Andrew Hill and Jaki Byard, and a few originals by the leader himself. The set is played loosey-goosey, while Moran digs in to display hair-raising intensity, accelerating the trio from 0 to 60 almost telepathically. Bandwagon might be approaching veteran standing, but their freshness and vitality remain undiminished.
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