Jason Moran wins MacArthur Fellowship

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Longtime JLP collaborator and friend Jason Moran has deservedly won a MacArthur Fellowship, the one-of-a-kind “genius” award that provides several hundred thousand dollars and establishes icons in American culture today.

Our work with Jason dates back to early 2006 when Times writer Ben Ratliff, while interviewing Jason on stage at the Museum of Modern Art, told him about the Jazz Loft Project and ideas began swirling in his head, after several visits to the Center for Documentary Studies, to use Smith’s materials to pay homage to Monk and create a new work of art, which became IN MY MIND.  Duke Performances’ director Aaron Greenwald deserves credit for orchestrating the original commission of IN MY MIND in 2007 and producing the 2009 Town Hall concerts which included IN MY MIND, which CDS filmmakers Gary Hawkins and Emily LaDue beautifully documented.

HERE is a longer blog entry I wrote in July describing all the steps in this long, fruitful collaboration.

No doubt, part of the reason JLP won the “Innovative Use of Archives Award” from the Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York is because of our collaboration with Jason.  In fact, he was the first person we asked to present this award to us (on October 20 at Columbia University).  We are proud to have played some role in his career and I believe Gene Smith would have been proud, too.

-Sam Stephenson

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