How Art is Born
Episode 10


Today, internationally-renowned jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran is a MacArthur genius, Artistic Director of Jazz at the Kennedy Center, and his visual art is currently on view at MCA Denver. Rewind forty years and Jason was a six-year-old growing up in Houston and begrudgingly beginning to take piano lessons. His attitude toward the piano changed its tune when he was thirteen and heard Thelonius Monk play for the first time, inspired by his game-changing melding of jazz and hip hop. Jason went on to attend New York’s Manhattan School of Music where his unconventional style and unwavering self-confidence challenged his teachers and bandmates, but today makes him a one-of-a-kind artist. In the final episode of How Art is Born season 1, Jason sits down with host R. Alan Brooks to discuss the history of Black music, parenthood as an artist, finding a tribe that appreciates what you want to bring to the table, and so much more.

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MacArthur "Genius" Grant winner and internationally-renowned jazz musician Jason Moran welcomed his installation STAGED: Three Deuces to its new home.

[Image description: A photo of artist Jason Moran. He stands with his arms crossed looking directly into the camera. He wears a gray suit jacket, white collared shirt, black tie, and black and white pocket square.]


Jazz pianist, composer, and performance artist Jason Moran was born in Houston, TX in 1975 and earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010 and is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. Moran currently teaches at the New England Conservatory.

Moran is deeply invested in reassessing and complicating the relationship between music and language, and his extensive efforts in composition, improvisation, and performance are all geared towards challenging the status quo while respecting the accomplishments of his predecessors. His activity stretches beyond the many recordings and performances with masters of the form including Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, and the late Sam Rivers, and his work with his trio The Bandwagon (with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen) has resulted in a profound discography for Blue Note Records. The scope of Moran’s partnerships and music-making with venerated and iconic visual artists is extensive. He has collaborated with such major figures as Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Stan Douglas, Adam Pendleton, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker; commissioning institutions of Moran’s work include the Walker Art Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dia Art Foundation, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Harlem Stage, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.