Jason Moran / Larry Grenadier / Richard Davis
/ Jeff Ballard
Jason Moran, piano; Larry Grenadier, bass; Richard Davis, bass; Jeff
Tuesday, August 5 | 8 pm | Dinkelspiel Auditorium
Tickets: $32 general | $16 students
By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford
For more information, go to our Ticketing
“Moran’s music swells and
swarms unpredictably, skittering here, accelerating there, embroidering
a composition by Brahms or Prokofiev, easing into a head-nodding rhythmic
groove, or meditating on a pop standard such as “Moon River” or
a riff borrowed from Bronx hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.” – Smithsonian
An avant-garde masterpiece from the 1960’s will get a fresh treatment
from some of today’s most adventurous jazz mavericks when Jason
Moran presents his re-interpretation of Andrew Hill’s seminal album
Smokestack. Moran is an exciting pianist who carries on the legacy of
innovators like Jaki Byard, Hill, and Muhal Richard Abrams. The Houston,
Texas native has earned a reputation as a fearless experimenter who brings
together disparate influences with dazzling, unpredictable results. He
has worked with visionaries like Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman,
and Von Freeman. For his Stanford performance, Moran will lead a band
featuring drummer Jeff Ballard and bassists Larry Grenadier and Richard
Davis through a re-examination of the music from Andrew Hill’s
1963 album Smokestack. Hill’s mysterious, abstract compositions
define their own unique territory between post-bop and free jazz, combining
contemporary harmonies with a rich palette of unconventional sounds and
techniques. Richard Davis, whose performance on the original Smokestack
re-imagined the role of the bass 45 years ago, will provide the bridge
from the past to the future.
Q&A with Jason Moran and Richard Davis
What is the first recording
you remember hearing as a child?
JM: Suzuki piano book One.
RD: “A Tisket A Tasket” by Ella Fitzgerald.
is your favorite jazz musician under the age of 30?
JM: Tyshawn Sorrey.
What job would you have if you weren’t
a jazz musician?
What’s the strangest experience you’ve
ever had on the bandstand?
JM: Multiple fights happening in the audience.
What’s your favorite food?
JM: Anything Chef Frechon is making at Paris’ Hotel Bristol.
RD: Red beans & rice & corn bread.
What’s the most exotic place you’ve
traveled to as a musician?
What’s the last book you’ve
JM: “A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental
Music” by George Lewis.
RD: “The First R: How Children Learn Race & Racism” by
If you could play with any other musician, living or dead (with whom
you have not played), who would it be and why?
JM: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to hear his improvisations, and to
hear how he would respond.
RD: Thelonious Monk because I was born to be his bass player.
What’s your favorite tune?
JM: The tune I’m playing.
RD: Too many, but I will say “Passion Flower” played by
Hodges and written by Billy Strayhorn.
What’s your favorite thing
about being a Stanford Jazz Workshop faculty member?
JM: Having a chance to play with Richard Davis, a man that played
with both of my teachers Jaki Byard and Andrew Hill.
What’s your favorite jazz venue?
RD: The Village Vanguard in New York City.
Who is your greatest musical influence?
JM: Thelonious Monk.
RD: Walter Dyett, High School Director.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three
recordings with you, what would they be?
JM: Herbie Nichols-Love , Gloom, Cash; Jay Dee- Donuts & Lulu- Alban Berg
RD: Ben Webster, Miles Davis & Duke Ellington.
How much do you practice each week?
JM: 1 hour.
RD: 7 hours.
What hobbies do you have?
JM: Collecting records (wax only), collecting art.
RD: Watching boxing matches and riding horses.
If you could be any other type of artist other than a jazz musician,
what would you be and why?
JM: A dancer – the ability to tell narrative
with only body movement seems challenging but rewarding.
When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances
or events led to your becoming a professional musician?
JM: When I heard hip-hop in the early 80s I got into music. My
parents put me in piano classes and despite many attempts to quit,
something kept pulling me in.
RD: Stage shows.
If you were to describe your music as a color, what color would it
be and why?
JM: Black-it casts no shadow, it absorbs all, it is sometimes not
regarded as a color, and against a sharp white background it is the