ROCHESTER, NY — For the fourth time in as many years, legendary jazz pianist Marian McPartland and the Eastman School of Music have teamed up to shine the spotlight on an exceptional jazz pianist who deserves wider recognition.
Twenty-seven-year-old Jason Moran — whose CD Black Stars was named the best jazz recording of 2001 by The New York Times — makes his Rochester debut as the featured artist in the fourth annual "Marian McPartland/Eastman Jazz Series" at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 9, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). In concert, Moran will perform many of his own acclaimed compositions as well as a several jazz standards. McPartland also will perform, both solo and with her featured guest.
Since breaking into the rising-star ranks of jazz in 1997, the Houston-born, New York-based Moran has been hailed by audiences and critics alike. The Village Voice has proclaimed that Moran is "good news for jazz’s future," and New York Magazine cited him in its fall music issue as one of the city’s musical treasures. His three solo recordings on Blue Note Records (Soundtrack to Human Motion (1999), Facing Left (2000), and Black Stars) have been critically received, and he has recorded and toured with such artists as Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman, and Stefon Harris, among others. In February, McPartland featured Moran on her National Public Radio show, Piano Jazz, which airs locally on WXXI-AM.
"Jason’s playing is outstanding," she said recently. "There’s no doubt that he’s on his way to great things."
Reserved tickets for the concert are $5-15. They are available in advance at Ticket Express, 100 East Ave., or by calling 585-222-5000. (Any unsold tickets will be available at the hall box office one hour before the concert, although it is likely to sell out in advance as it has done the past three years.)
In addition to the concert, Moran will present an informal jazz lecture/workshop with video clips highlighting prolific jazz pianist Jaki Byard, with whom he studied. This will take place at 1 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall on May 9, and is free and open to the public.
The spotlight also will shine on McPartland herself this year, as Eastman honors her with a new exhibit in its Sibley Music Library. "Celebrating Marian at Eastman" pays tribute to McPartland’s numerous accomplishments in jazz and her long association with the School. It includes many photos, posters, awards, clippings, and other items drawn from her personal archives. After a private opening reception on May 8, the free exhibit will be open to the public for viewing during normal library hours beginning May 9. It will run through September 15, 2002.
Note to editors: Jason Moran and Marian McPartland are available for interviews. Photos are available.