Texas Performing Arts presents Jason Moran and the Harlem Hellfighters
Pianist, composer, bandleader, and MacArthur “Genius” recipient Jason Moran grew up in Texas and has become established as one of the most original voices on today’s jazz scene. Moran is active not only in music, but also in visual arts, film, performance art, theatre, and dance. Moran makes his Texas Performing Arts debut with his acclaimed meditation on the life and legacy of early jazz pioneer James Reese Europe.
On New Year’s Day 1918, James Reese Europe, an iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music, landed in France with the Harlem Hellfighters. This crack military music ensemble popularized the new spirit of jazz to a war-torn French nation fascinated with black culture.
More than a century later Jason Moran celebrates this hero of black music through a highly personal reflection on the impact of the African-American presence in Europe in the closing years of World War I, and its resonance abroad and in the US. The performance features Moran’s celebrated Bandwagon trio complemented by a seven-piece horn section, contributions from artist/director/screenwriter John Akomfrah, and visual materials from acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young.