Taking jazz piano beyond the charted boundaries


New York is crawling with knockout jazz pianists, so why all the emphasis on Jason Moran and Brad Mehldau? It could be because they each start with jazz as home base, but play every note with one eye fixed on an outside turf not already mapped, surveyed and cataloged by jazz aesthetics. These aren’t necessarily spaces with signs on them – “hip-hop” or “classical” or “Latin” or whatever. They are personal, and they grow out of improvisational gestures. Many who like jazz, but are not of it – a growing number – have responded almost intuitively.

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