In conjunction with the exhibition Gee’s Bend: the Architecture of the Quilt (on view through December 14), the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present the world premiere of a commissioned work by one of the most adventurous artists working in jazz today, Jason Moran. On Friday, December 12, the Museum’s Art After 5 program will host Moran and his group The Bandwagon performing with special guest and Grammy-award winner Bill Frisell, the widely acclaimed guitarist whose distinctive style is rooted in jazz and incorporates elements of folk, classical, and country music.
Moran, an innovative and provocative composer, as well as a brilliant pianist, is based in New York and his work draws upon everything from hip-hop and classical music to the rhythm and tonality of everyday speech, as well as contemporary art. The performance is inspired by the exhibition Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, which explores the quilting tradition in the African-American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.
After launching his career as a sideman for Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, Greg Osby, and Stefon Harris, Moran has established himself as a risk-taker and jazz innovator. Moran has a keen interest in contemporary art and regularly explores issues of race and the African American experience as a touchstone in his composition development. His commission for Jazz at Lincoln Center, RAIN, was inspired by “ring-shouts”-slavery-era dance and music rituals-as well as the civil rights anthem “Lift Every Voice.” When producing the theatrical jazz suite “Milestone” in 2005 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, he looked to Harlem-born conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper’s art work, which is informed by her experience as an African-American woman in the art world.
This program, including the commissioning and presentation, is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts.
Conversation with the artist
Before the music begins, join music writer David Adler for a conversation with Jason Moran on stage in the Museum’s Great Stair Hall at 5:15 p.m. Adler’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic Online, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate, Down Beat and Jazz Times. He is a 2006 nominee for the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Newspaper, Magazine or Online Writing, given annually by the Jazz Journalists Association
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 200 galleries, housing a vast collection of art from around the world. The experience is enhanced each Friday by a program of music, dance, food, and drinks in the Great Stair Hall. Performances are presented in two sets: 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., with guided tours of the galleries offered throughout the evening. A full cash bar and à la carte menu of appetizers, light entrées and desserts is available with table service in the Great Stair Hall. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens (62 and over); $10 for students with I.D. and children 13-18; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times. Limited parking is available on the Museum’s Upper Terrace at $4 for members, $5 for non-members.