In Review: Jason Moran at The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Tyler Chiu ’20

Jason Moran’s “IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall 1959” performance at The Theatre at Ace Hotel was by far one of the most hip shows to go to this year.  Imagine arriving at a beautiful gothic styled theater and then being asked to sit as close as possible to the stage only to see some of the most killing musicians all playing together.  

Jason Moran pays homage to Thelonious Monk’s performance at Town Hall with his seemingly angular yet spontaneous improvised lines along with the beautifully arranged five piece horn section and rhythm section.  Modern cats like Walter Smith III and Immanuel Watkins were able to emulate the warm and round sounds of Monk’s accompanying group while also infusing modern and transcendent soloistic lines, which juxtaposed hip interludes in the melodies when Nasheet Waits would bring the entire group into a tight and soulful drum groove.  

My personal favorite moment of the show was when the entire ensemble began playing the main theme of “Crepuscule with Nellie”, the second to last track in the album The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall, and exited off stage and marched towards the lobby entrance to greet the audience.  

To listen to the original recording, click on the link:

To listen to a personally curated playlist of Jason Moran’s works, click on the link: