Jason Moran Premieres a Tribute to James Reese Europe
Big Ears veteran and favorite Jason Moran embraces audacious projects—a re-creation of Monk’s famous Town Hall concerts with his Orchestra, a multimedia and kinetic celebration of the freewheeling Fats Waller, a weeklong installation for the Whitney Biennial. This week, he’s premiered another big idea in London—a tribute to James Reese Europe, the black military commander and jazz bandleader purported to have given jazz its first European inroads with his Harlem Hellfighters during World War I. The premiere at The Barbican, part of an extended commemoration of World War I’s centenary, earned four of five stars in The Guardian. “These orchestrations paint an alternative history of jazz that stops in 1920, misses out half a century of swing and bebop, and goes straight into free improve,” they write. The concert lands stateside December 8, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more about the project here.