This has got to be the Walker’s first appearance on an album cover. Jazz pianist Jason Moran’s Artist in Residence (Blue Note), to be released September 12, includes compositions created during his residency here last May and commissioned by the Walker, the Dia Art Foundation, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. During his time here, Moran was moved by art in the collection, especially works by Adrian Piper:
Milestone, an evening-length theatrical jazz suite, had its world premiere at the Walker in May 2005 following an artist residency in which Moran drew inspiration from artworks in the museum’s collection, most specifically the work of Adrian Piper. Moran’s fascination with Piper’s The Mythic Being: I/You/(Her) (1974) and his subsequent research of her life and writing led to the conception of a parallel creation, transferring Piper’s combination of the personal, political, and theatrical into the context of a jazz composition and concert form. Piper lent her full support to the project, including use of her voice and writings.
“ I now understand that much of jazz’s success is owed to its inherent abstractness,” says Moran. “ I’ve recently created more music associated with people, places, and events as opposed to pretty chords and nice grooves. Adrian Piper says that I’m in what artists call a mannerist phase’ now. I like how that sounds. . . . Adrian’s pieces tell stories, as seen by a black woman in the art world. They are poignant outpourings of her life. This was a goal we had for Milestone.”
Hear “Artists Ought to be Writing,” from the new CD.