Sept. 9, 2008

Jason Moran pays tribute to Monk in Bailey Hall concert

A free multimedia performance in Bailey Hall of "In My Mind: Thelonious Monk at Town Hall 1959" by jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran will open the 2008-09 Cornell Concert Series, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.

Moran will be accompanied by his Bandwagon ensemble, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. The musicians will visit Ithaca High School Friday, Sept. 19, and will offer additional open sessions at Cornell over the weekend. For information, see http://www.cornellconcertseries.com.

Free general admission tickets (required) for the Sept. 20 concert are available at http://www.cornellconcertseries.com, on campus at the Willard Straight Hall Ticket Office and Day Hall Information Desk, and at Clinton House, 116 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca.

"In My Mind" was commissioned for the 90th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's birth in 2007 by Duke University, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Chicago Symphony Center and the Washington Performing Arts Society. The work integrates Monk's original music, conversations and video footage with Moran's own reinterpretations.

"'In My Mind' allows me to ruminate on African-American slavery, jazz history, the piano, my life, religion and redemption. Monk gave me life," Moran says.

At age 33, Moran has already earned numerous accolades including praise from Downbeat, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian magazine and Playboy, which named him its first-ever Jazz Artist of the Year in 2005. The New York Times called him "one of the most independent minds now working in jazz ... a deft conceptualist, finding inspiration in the rhythm and tonality of spoken language, in film, in jazz and pop and hip-hop."

This concert is free and open to the public, and is co-presented and supported by the David R. and Patricia D. Atkinson Forum in American Studies at Cornell, which seeks to bring to the campus and community the best that America has to offer in the arts.