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The astonishingly inventive pianist and composer JASON MORAN unleashes his fun side in this “joyous and foolish and graceful” (NY Times) event, a hip-shaking, eye-popping spectacle complete with dancers and costumes that takes the stride innovator Fats Waller as a jumping off point to dig into grooves that flirt with everything from Motown to house to hip-hop. A McArthur Fellow and only the second person after the legendary Billy Taylor to hold the prestigious Artistic Advisor for Jazz post at the Kennedy Center (he has since been elevated to Artistic Director for Jazz), Moran has become one of the form’s truly compelling modern advocates, a restlessly creative force with a singular capacity to reveal jazz’s internal and external connections. Whether with his trio the Bandwagon or in any number of other ensembles he regularly performs with, he is among the most exciting musicians in the world today.
For all Moran’s skill and showmanship, BUTLER, BERNSTEIN & THE HOT 9—a dazzling collision between the great New Orleans pianist, singer, and recent Brooklyn transplant Henry Butler, “a visionistical down-home cat and a hellified piano plunker to boot,” (Dr. John) and the retro-futurist trumpeter Steven Bernstein—will be a tough act to follow. The group, comprised of some of the finest players in town or anywhere, delves deeply into Butler’s native soil to conjure a sound that both revels in classic Crescent City grooves and takes them places others have never dreamed of going.