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How about that Jason Moran, who keeps finding new and exciting ways to grace these pages? The ludicrously acclaimed (and entirely deserved) pianist and composer had his name on two fantastic albums this summer; played a stellar set at this month’s Rosslyn Jazz Festival; and, yesterday, is the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship: the “genius grant.”

It’s a $500,000 award, for which the recipients cannot be nominated by outside parties, nor can any lobbying or campaigning be done on their behalf. Winners are chosen based on the MacArthur panel’s opinion of both the artists’ work to date, and their likely future contribution. Most interestingly, though, there are no requirements on how the big payout must be spent.

Good news for Moran, then, and even bigger news for jazz: this is the fourth jazz musician in five years to win the fellowship, along with saxophonist Miguel Zenon in 2008, and violinist Regina Carter and saxophonist/all-around avant-garde impresario John Zorn in 2006.