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Jason Moran is one of the most talked-about pianists and composers of the past decade. In 2010, he was made a MacArthur Fellow and is now the top jazz adviser for the Kennedy Center, picking up where Dr. Billy Taylor left off. Moran opens this session with a song from his latest album, Ten, called "Blue Blocks" — a commission by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an exhibition of quilts from Gee's Bend, Ala. The way Moran describes the quilts to host Jon Weber sounds very much like Moran's own music.
"It's quite fascinating, because there are quilts that one might say are similar to something that Piet Mondrian might paint. It's very architectural," Moran says. "But what they use — old clothes, or even old quilts or old swatches of fabrics, and then weave them together and the lines just come out a bit askew."
Moran epitomizes a modern approach to music, regularly employing sampled loops as a "fourth band member" in live performances. Here, Moran performs a broad and exciting set of 21st-century jazz piano tunes.