Jason Moran

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2016

New York, NY

Since emerging onto the New York music scene in the late 1990s, pianist and composer Jason Moran has been “shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz” (Rolling Stone). In addition to his group The Bandwagon, with Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits, he has performed and/or recorded with artists Charles Lloyd, Don Byron, and Steve Coleman. In 2007, he created IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, an acclaimed multimedia performance examining pianist Thelonious Monk’s creation process. It became a documentary entitled IN MY MIND by director Gary Hawkins. He is a MacArthur Fellow and was voted DownBeat Critics Poll’s Jazz Artist, Jazz Album, and Pianist of the Year in 2011. He is Artistic Director for Jazz at the Kennedy Center and serves on the piano faculty at New England Conservatory. Last year, he started his own record label, Yes Records. In May 2016, he will release a solo piano recording Live at The Park Avenue Armory.

  • Photo Credit: Clay Patrick McBride
    Jason Moran
  • Jason Moran- "There’s A Man Going Round Taking Names" (2015): http://vimeo.com/156869511
    "There’s A Man Going Round Taking Names" (2015)
  • Jason Moran- "Tribute to Cecil Taylor" (2015): http://vimeo.com/147496423
    "Tribute to Cecil Taylor" (2015)
  • Jason Moran- Jason Moran and the Bandwagon Live at Moods (2014): http://vimeo.com/164104688
    Jason Moran and the Bandwagon Live at Moods (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Roberto Marossi
    Jason Moran

What are the creative challenges you face as an artist?

Time is not available like it used to be. Currently, I do not have time to thoroughly practice, compose, or investigate ideas down to their core. I’ve made due by grabbing the shards of time that are available and placing shards of music on the staff paper. I’m positive this award will allow me to pull back on the throttle, and, hopefully, this will allow time to create without deadline. There is no formula for creativity, so I’m wary that “time” will solve any creative blocks I currently have. I’m certain the award will allow me time to take lessons, and hopefully begin redefining my relationship to the piano. This is important if I’m to sustain myself at the piano for the next 40 years. That’s my aim, and now is the time to plan for the future.