Tolliver & Moran Do Monk at Town Hall, Part 2 (The Aftermath)
Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon (an eight-piece extension of his Bandwagon Trio) aimed for something else entirely—a po-mo excursion into the genesis of Monk’s music, drawing on audio tapes of the ’59 discussions between Monk and his arranger Hall Overton, video footage from the era, and Moran’s musings of Monk’s influence on his own music. The concert could have been very twee, but Moran made good on his ambitions; it did what such pastiches are supposed to do—make you hear, and think about, the music in a new and thrilling way. The band wasn’t as polished as Tolliver’s, and Cowell had a more commanding grasp of the material; but Moran captured Monk’s jagged rhythms and spiky dynamics more naturally—maybe more so than any living pianist can.
Tolliver’s concert was broadcast live on WNYC (93.9 on the FM dial in New York, wnyc.org on the net). Moran’s was recorded and will be aired sometime later—but it really calls for a DVD produced by a video artist. Moran says he’s disinclined to go that route—he wants to keep it exclusively in the concert hall—but I hope he changes his mind; it’s worth preserving for posterity, too.