Meet Me at MacGregor

Jason Moran



Sun, April 17, 2016 from 2pm-6pm

2pm-3pm – Bandwagon Trio
3pm-3:30pm  – DJ Cipher
3:30pm – 4:15pm – Bandwagon Trio with Horace Grigsby
4:15pm-4:45pm – DJ Cipher
4:45pm-5:30pm – Chris Dave and Jason Moran
5:30pm – end DJ Cipher

Shrine of the Black Madonna
5313 Martin Luther King King, Jr. Blvd.
Houston, TX 77021


“Using the basketball court as our stage and having the music fill the park…of and for the community of Houston. ” – Jason Moran

An all-day music homecoming.

The trailblazing pianist, Jason Moran, creates a musical event in the park where he spent so many Sundays growing up in Houston. An outdoor day of live music that features, as befits a homecoming, musical guests flowing in and out of the band, as befits a homecoming. As the band plays on from day into evening, the music flows, swells, recedes, unstoppable, moving like a tide overtaking the land. Special guests from Houston’s numerous music scenes – from rap to jazz to blues – will appear throughout the day. Come and go, or stay all day to witness this marathon of star performances.

Since his formidable emergence on the music scene in the late 90s, Jason Moran has established himself as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions for jazz. Expect a personal, emotional, leaving-it-all-out-there performance when he comes home.

Meet Me at MacGregor is the first project in Performing the Neighborhood, a five-year partnership between the Mitchell Center and Project Row Houses to commission and present major performance-based works by contemporary artists in the Third Ward neighborhood of Houston. These large-scale co-commissions will draw upon the neighborhood, as well as the rich, often complicated, intersection between the university campus and its surrounding community. Meet Me at MacGregor is also part of the three-year Homecoming residency hosted jointly with Da Camera, which celebrates the artist’s Houston roots.

Jason Moran is a jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader who creates adventurous, genre-crossing performances. He has recorded ten critically acclaimed albums with Blue Note Records, was a 2010 MacArthur recipient, and scored the Oscar-nominated film Selma. Currently the Jazz Artistic Director at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Moran has performed with such artists as Cassandra Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Meshell Ndegeocello, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, Marian McPartland, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Von Freeman, Andrew Hill and Uri Caine. His visual arts partnerships include Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker. Moran’s work has been commissioned by such institutions as Walker Art Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dia Art Foundation and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

“Jason Moran [is] shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz.”Rolling Stone

“Moran is like no other pianist at work. His improvisations are dynamic, eruptive, keyed to the compositions at hand.” -Village Voice


Interview with Jason Moran
December 2015

Mitchell Center: Why MacGregor Park?

Jason Moran: I grew up learning how to play tennis at MacGregor. My brothers and I were in a summer tennis program. We spent all day there with our friends learning the basics of the game. I will never forget watching Zina Garrison practice there. That also made it an interesting place because a tennis celeb was there all of the time. And on the other hand, it was truly a hang out in Sundays. People showed up with their cars and their music, and it was very LIVE. A real community. And it was nice that Houston was feeling this tug from the wider US because of Zina, the Geto Boys, etc. It was inspiring for us to see someone from our community “make it.”

Mitchell Center: What do you envision as the heart of this performance, both as an event, and musically?

Jason Moran: Music and food are central to nearly everyone. So considering how instrumental food and music are to Houston, what better way to examine that than through some good music by some good musicians? Using the basketball court as our stage and having the music fill the park. Also, I have a feeling the event will shift once people arrive and simply hang out. I hope it does and I hope that shift will be palpable and feel like it needs to be an annual event. Of and for the community of Houston. Music for a party is drastically different from music for a concert hall. Just imagine your playlist for New Year’s Eve. Maybe I’ll be going in that direction.

Mitchell Center: How do you think memory will affect the music, particular being in the location of those memories?

Jason Moran: Well, I still wrestle with my adolescent memories. But on the other hand, I have been diving in that reservoir for a while. So I have material that already addresses it. Also, if I know my family is in the audience, I perform differently. I know why I play certain songs. It is not a mystery. In this concert I do want to experience when the sky turns dark. And what will happen then.

Mitchell Center: How do you see the audience experiencing this event?

Jason Moran: Hopefully durational. Come hang out and yeah, simply just hang out. The music is to almost serve as background for your picnic. You can pay attention or not. But let’s all hang out together in some land that has been pivotal real estate for generations.

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