During one of his monthly teaching residencies at New England Conservatory, pianist/composer/bandleader Jason Moran brings his trio for the New England premiere of In My Mind, an evening-length, multimedia performance that blends live music, video, and recorded samples for an immersion in the life and art of Thelonious Monk, the pianist and American original who inspired Moran's own musical development.
Building on the core musical unit of Jason Moran on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass, and Nasheet Waits on drums, Moran will bring in NEC jazz students as his brass section. Thelonious Monk's legendary 1959 concert in New York's Town Hall is the musical basis for this evening, but it doesn't stop there.
Photographer W. Eugene Smith's documentation of Monk's conversations with Hall Overton, who arranged the Town Hall concert, is at the heart of the media clips included in the evening, along with shots of Moran's own visit to Monk's North Carolina haunts. From a heritage of slavery to his own exposure to bigotry and brutalization, Monk's struggle to make art as an African-American appears in counterpoint to the art itself.
Moran's project began with a 2006 commission from the San Francisco Jazz Festival. The discovery of Smith's archives at Duke University was another major stage in the process. In My Mind has now played to great acclaim around the U.S. and Europe, but never before in Boston.
More about Jason Moran and this project at Jazz Times.