Summary

Jason Moran's 2010 effort Ten features more of the jazz pianist's smart and forward-thinking jazz. Backed by bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, Moran reveals himself once again to be a nimble improviser with an ear toward atmospheric and often fractured hypnotic post-bop jazz on tracks like the lilting "Blue Blocks" (commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and "RFK in the Land of Apartheid," along with ruminative numbers buoyed by the band's laid-back blues inflections and ever-so-subtle funk grooves. Other tracks, such as "Feedback Pt. 2" and "Old Babies," reveal Moran's more experimental edge, mixing sound effects and his son's voices with more straight-ahead jazz stylings that bring to mind both Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson. As always with Moran, there is a heavy classical influence, and compositions like his own "Pas de Deux -- Lines Ballet" and his rambunctious take on Leonard Bernstein's "Big Stuff" do evince, much like the rest of Ten, both a romantic and modernist point of view. ~ Matt Collar