In the fall of 2014, Da Camera launched the Jason Moran Homecoming Residency, a multi-year residency with the jazz pianist/composer and Houston native, presented in partnership with the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Jason Moran is leading activities engaging Houston’s historic Third and Fourth Ward communities. Moran’s residency features in-school and community programs with his ensemble The Bandwagon, focusing on an exploration of the interconnected relationships between jazz, neighborhood, community and visual art.
The Jason Moran Homecoming Residency is organized in partnership with the University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts and has been made possible by support from the Lynne Murray, Sr. Educational Foundation and Chamber Music America through its Residency Endowment Fund.
Jason Moran Homecoming Residency – Year 3
Year three of the Jason Moran Homecoming residency kicked off with a public performance on Da Camera’s jazz series of Jason Mason Presents In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959 at Wortham Theater Center. Moran has continued to lead activities engaging Houston students and communities.
In January, Jason Moran led workshops and a jam session with student musicians at artist Tierney Malone’s installation at Project Row Houses, The Jazz Church of Houston. These activities were organized by the Mitchell Center.
In April, Jason Moran returns to Discovery Green for a free Jazz Appreciation Month performance, in a trio with bass player Chris Walker and drummer Denardo Coleman.
Jason Moran Homecoming Residency – Year 2
Year two of the residency featured Moran leading activities engaging Houston students and communities. Moran’s residency features in-school and community programs, focusing on an exploration of the interconnected relationships between music, neighborhood, community and visual art.
In February, Moran conducted a master class with HSPVA jazz combo and lead a workshop of the new pieces created in a collaborative storytelling project involving students from the the HSPVA Creative Writing department and the Jazz combo. At MacGregor Elementary, he performed alongside students at this alma mater in a Black History Month performance and returned to Gregory Lincoln Education Center. On February 24, Jason Moran presented the annual Artist Talk at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston. In collaboration with the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and Da Camera, CAMH welcomed Moran in conjunction with Jennie C. Jones: Compilation. Moran examined Jones’s use of experimental jazz to inform her aesthetic and conceptual approaches to art making.
“Using the basketball court as our stage and having the music fill the park…of and for the community of Houston. ” – Jason Moran
The trailblazing pianist, Jason Moran, creates a musical event in the park where he spent so many Sundays growing up in Houston. Originally conceived as an outdoor day of live music, the event was moved indoors to the Shrine of the Black Madonna. It featured, as befits a homecoming, musical guests flowing in and out of the band. Jason Moran’s trio the Bandwagon performed, and were later joined for a set by legendary Houston vocalist Horace Grigsby. DJ Cypher played tracks between sets. The final set featured Moran in a duo setting with Houston native drummer Chris Dave.
The Residency – Year 1
Jason Moran made his first visit to Houston in September 2014, with visits to MacGregor Elementary, Gregory Lincoln Middle School and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Jason also visited with Da Camera Young Artists, who will continue to visit the schools involved in the residency and work with the students on year-long projects.
Holed Up Premiere
The first year of the Jason Moran Homecoming Residency included the creation and world premiere of The Rauschenberg Project–Holed Up, an exploration of the work of visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, commissioned by Da Camera. Moran collaborated with celebrated Houston-based visual artist Robert Pruitt, a member of the provocative collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. Rauschenberg, a fellow Texan, has been a major influence on Moran’s work. For this multimedia project, Jason Moran collaborated with Pruitt and expanded his celebrated trio, The Bandwagon, to include a special guest from Houston’s jazz scene, vocalist Horace Grigsby, and guitarist Marvin Sewell.
Holed Up images by Pin Lim/Forest Photography.
Jazz Appreciation Month performance at Discovery Green
On April 30, Da Camera celebrated the conclusion of year one of the Homecoming Residency at Da Camera JAM at Discovery Green. Jason Moran performed with students from the HSPVA Jazz department to a crowd of over 1,500. Da Camera celebrate Jazz in Houston during April, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) (smithsonianjazz.org). The series is organized by Discovery Green and Da Camera with guest artistic advisor Robert “Doc” Morgan, a retired jazz educator from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) who has taught some of today’s great jazz performers. Morgan was honored by his former students at Discovery Green’s very first concert in 2008.