In 1999, the same year that Jason Moran released his debut disc, the prodigy pianist and composer also joined New Directions, a band made up of young stars from the Blue Note roster that went on tour in celebration of the label's 60th anniversary. At the core of that band was the genesis of a rhythm section-with Moran, bassist Taurus Mateen, and drummer Nasheet Waits-that would go on to become one of the most enduringly creative piano trios in jazz. Ten years later, the trailblazing trio--which Moran has dubbed The Bandwagon--releases "Ten", the most assured and focused CD of Moran's acclaimed career, a snapshot of a mature band with a decade of shared musical experience from which to draw.
Renowned bassist Stanley Clarke feels that the music on his new release, "The Stanley Clarke Band", is fresh and different from just about anything he's done before. The range of collaborative material has allowed him to venture to new levels of experimentation. The disc includes original compositions from the innovative young musicians of the band, including keyboardist Hiromi on her second foray with Clarke. He compares it to the first three albums of his solo career, with long extended electric pieces that take the listener on a kind of journey. "There are people other than myself who have something to say," explains Clarke. "Everyone on this project brought their own music and their own ideas."
Meanwhile, legendary trombonist and composer Curtis Fuller is offering up a new two-disc set, "I Will Tell Her"; pianist Fred Hersch features new compositions and fresh takes on old standards on his new trio recording, "Whirl"; and Gregory Porter, whom Wynton Marsalis has called "a fantastic young singer," debuts with "Water."