The Sound Will Tell You
(Independent / Bandcamp)
For his third solo piano album, Jason Moran – so brilliant across small combos, duos, all sorts of musical pairings that stretch jazz to its limits – took influence from all of the Toni Morrison he’d been reading, the Thelonious Monk he’s forever in debt to and the lockdown that was keeping him, er, locked down…and he made The Sound Will Tell You.
In the same year (2021) he also released an incredible duos record with Archie Shepp. So, muse is fully intact and music continues to tumble from those sleeves.
On this album, reflective, contemplative, Moran hits down into a type of continuous music (How Much More Terrible Was The Night), does deep, dramatic balladry (Toni Morrison said Black Is A Rainbow) and traces around the classic solo-piano influence of Bill Evans (Follow The Light), Keith Jarrett (Spoken in Two) and leaves plenty of room to fill out the void with his own sound entirely (For Love).
It’s a beautiful set of recordings. The piano being the star, Moran a conduit for the music. The room is warm, and the music inviting. You’ll want to loop this and play it for yourself on repeat, for friends when you can and any day that you need a soundtrack just for getting through – or just want some music to help in feeling like your hand is being held.
Moran is an exquisite player – he’s been on my radar for around 20 years now and I’ll hear any record he’s worked on. But his solo albums are such monuments to devotion for the instrument. You hear it. You feel it. You’re so lucky to be able to hold it.