Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
The vanguard of a new era in Kennedy Center jazz programming, Jason Moran is the venerated arts institution’s new artistic advisor for jazz. Before that he was among the world’s most original and knowledgeable young working pianists, making music that ranged from ragtime to hip-hop—which only made the Kennedy Center’s selection of him that much more astonishing. Moran replaced the legendary pianist and D.C. native Billy Taylor, whose programming contributions were both innovative and stodgy (he created the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, then stocked it with safe choices). The contrast with Taylor signified a shake-up in Kennedy Center jazz, but Moran arrived determined to get even further out. He made scouting trips to D.C. to check out the local scene before he got to planning. His inaugural season has included such adventurers as Anthony Braxton; Medeski, Martin, and Wood; and…Jason Moran, who is appearing either as a leader (primarily with his Bandwagon trio) or a featured guest seven times this year.