Improvisational pianist Jason Moran brings the skatepark to the jazz hall
For the skating performance, Moran has partnered with FTC Skateboarding and Kent Uyehara's Western Addition, a company that frequently adopts a jazz aesthetic in its videos and decks, the latter emblazoned with images of John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius, or Mati Klarwein's art for Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. A custom half ramp is being built out in the Sunset, to be hauled into the SFJAZZ Center. Skateboarders including Adrian Williams, Alex Wolslagel, Dave Abair, Jake Johnson, and Ben Gore have been recruited. The only question is how well it will coalesce. There will be no rehearsal.
"I already know that the sound of the wheels, and the slap of the board, the quality of these sounds, for my band it's something to work with. But as far as syncing up with them and making music that goes along perfectly, I'm not going to try and do that. It's more about capturing the energy, and giving them support so they can sort of solo on top of it," Moran said, also mentioning a desire to not necessarily cover but channel the spirit of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, more conventionally associated with skateboarding.
Moran's confidence extends to the skaters, who he sees as improvisers as well. "There's an understanding among skateboarders that's similar to musicians, where you can see someone perform a trick or a move, and they make it look easy, and unless you're at the level they are, or you watch a lot, you might not be able to perceive how difficult it is." In this way the root is transcription, learning by observing, practicing, and applying. After that comes adapting, transposition. And that's little more than a change in location.
JASON MORAN BANDWAGON AND LIVE SKATEBOARDING
Sat/4, 7:30pm, $20-$40
201 Franklin, SF