I recall the first time I saw or heard Jason Moran was on Myspace. I remember being intrigued to see a young African-American jazz pianist. It was probably about 2006 when I saw his Myspace page and I do not recall going further than a brief investigation. Fast forward to today and I am extremely proud of Jason Moran and what he represents.
Being a Houston native (Third Ward to be specific) he automatically had my support. I kept hearing his name on Facebook through mutual friends, especially after the recent score of Selma. I decided that it was necessary that I learn more about him. I kept toying with whether I would attend his concert (world premier). I made a definitive decision to attend…then I decided to attend the panel event at the Menil and swap the show for my friend’s birthday dinner.
The Menil event was not what I expected. I somehow missed that Robert Pruitt was going to be on the panel with Jason. I suddenly started feeling like this was a historic moment….similar to those times my grandparents recalled when a legend came to town…and they sat this close to them. I remembered seeing my first Robert Pruitt exhibit a couple of years ago in Upper Kirby and was pleasantly surprised to learn he is collaborating with Jason.
It was refreshing to hear Jason reflect on how it is to be a Houstonian living in Harlem. Yet, in contrast, he comes home and doesn’t quite feel like an adult here. He mentioned when he comes home, it feels like being a big kid. Going to see family, grandparents, an instant reminiscence. I agreed. I especially understood how it took leaving to completely appreciate how special Houston is. From our idiosyncrasies of the paddle claps of Fiesta for the product of the day (he told a story about being mesmerized and I could relate) to the great diversity intertwined with southern hospitality. I understood what it felt like to know Houston in the 80s to what it has grown to today. Like Jason, I am still amazed that Houston is the same city I was uncomfortable visiting downtown thirty years ago.
Jason played for us and gave us some teasers of what the show would be like. Instead of leaving the Menil like my Moran fix was satisfied, he created a yearning for me to see more. I immediately went home to purchase tickets and really am excited to see the show tonight. I am not quite sure how I am going to get through the logistics of the birthday dinner and the show, but I am pretty sure Uber will be involved.
I am so happy to be a part of history and look forward to Jason’s world premier.
Saturday, February 07, 2015, 8:00 PM
Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center