Carolina Shout – 2020

Jason Moran


A modern-day master reshapes a James P. Johnson classic

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Always an innovative player, pianist Jason Moran has the ability to reinvent vintage material while not losing sight of its earlier versions.

At a 2020 concert, he explores “Carolina Shout,” a stride piano test piece by the great James P. Johnson from the early 1920s.

At first Moran plays the piece fairly straight other than the fact that he purposely starts it at a slow tempo and then gradually speeds up as it evolves.

Three minutes into the performance, Moran utilizes a favorite device, sounding at first as if he is stuck in a two-bar section which he repeats over and over but really utilizing that section for variations and improvising.

After he has built up quite a bit of tension and suspense, taking the music in some surprising directions, Jason Moran gets out of the loop and digs into the last theme, bringing the piece to its close.

All in all, this is a fascinating and surprising performance.

-Scott Yanow


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