Jason Moran, third from left, performs at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, April 2014. (Alex Clark, Photo)

2013-14 artist Jason Moran scores the movie “Selma”

Congratulations to Jason Moran, who performed at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center as a 2013-14 Performing Arts Series artist. He recently scored his first narrative feature, Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” about Martin Luther King Jr.’s push to pass the voting rights act in Alabama. Here’s what one reviewer had to say about the movie: “Selma reminds us to honor not just the heroic figure making speeches, but the collective will of so many who made progress possible.” Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of History at Tufts University. 

Variety magazine’s Steve Chagollan has this to say about Moran and his work:

And now with “Selma,” Moran — no stranger to audio visual collaborations with such artists as Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas and Kara Walker — strikes out into more populist territory. “I didn’t know the intellectual approach to music that he was taking until I started to research him,” says DuVernay. “And it was just a meeting of like minds very quickly.”

The score — employing a 25-piece orchestra that relies mostly on piano and strings with the occasional woodwind and percussive accents — is mostly characterized by its restraint. “Usually when I see films that don’t have any score attached to them, I think they’re beautiful,” says Moran. “I love just the naked sound of the voice. That’s already music. Our process was to be able set very subtle landscapes. Then, when it needs to move forward in the mix, we’re able to do that as well.”

Adds DuVernay: “I’m very sensitive to music leading the emotion, or being manipulated by music. There’s a way to do it with a hammer and there’s a way to do it with a feather. And I don’t like being told how to feel, and so that was a lot our conversation.

Read the full Variety article here.

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