Artist and musician, Jason Moran Courtesy Photo

Jazz elite Jason Moran carefully composed the sound of freedom in his first featured score. The historical drama film, “Selma” directed by Ava DuVernay supplied immense pressure in achieving accurate tones to embody the actions enveloped in the civil rights march in Selma, AL in 1965. Moran pressed through every unique challenge of the creative process to create the golden ratio for this production’s acoustic ambiance. Pressures of execution weighed heavily on everyone involved in filming as they recreated a pinnacle point in American history. One can feel the march to peace first hand as Jason Moran performs the score live accompanied by New West Symphony at The Soraya located at Cal State University of Northridge this coming weekend. Jason organized sounds that were parallel to the emotional threshold of each footstep taken towards freedom in 1965.

Jason Moran is the name to know in the jazz circuit. Emerging in the late 90’s, he has enchanted the world with smouldering notes hanging through the air from his piano. Vetted in the music industry, Jason holds the leading position as artistic director of the Kennedy Center. He’s appropriately recognized for conveying sound to new levels of poetic art and carrying raw emotion through an active filter of piano keys. Moran has made albums along with his group, The Bandwagon that epitomize African American brilliance. Being versed in various mediums of art such as neo-expressionism by Jean-Michel Basquiat, equipped Jason to be a creative chameleon that tells a story through his own reverberations.

The audio assignment for “Selma” came through a mutual friend working closely with acclaimed director Ava DuVernay. Identifying the appropriate person to orchestrate an historical movement was crucial to Ava’s distinguished career; as this was her first extensive production as well. The whole crew will be leaning on each other to harvest the timeless presentation of the historical happenings in “Selma.” There was no room for potential error in the selecting process; encapsulating the soulful sound of the movie was a key role. Jason was brought up in conversation, and his expertise secured the position. He would produce cinematic notes to the steps of destiny.

Starting out on a blank canvas, he admitted to the nervous ambition and wisdom needed for the project. The freedom of not knowing, lead Moran to carefully compile various natural noises connecting the audience to that historic day. Sounds that stood for unity in that moment were utilized such as the handclaps from the protesters. He worked vigorously, starting from the end of the movie and then finding the groove that would time travel back into the intensity of actions leading up to the march. Jason established a space of lively anticipation of what the journey in “Selma” meant for Martin Luther King Jr. and his united front. Moran labored pivotal music notes to be in step with the grand air of change happening in 1965.

Jason Moran Photo by Cameron Wittig for Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Moran along with the New West Symphony under the conduction of Cheche Alara will perform at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts equally known as The Soraya on Saturday, February 1. It is the celebratory kickstart to Black History Month, the film will be playing on the big screen while the orchestra guides the audience through the twists and turns of the road to equality. Hearing the classically trained instruments follow the story through the emotional tides will have a long lasting affect and a profound sense of pride of what the African American community has overcome as a whole.

Moran efficiently captured Martin Luther King’s mission on “Selma” in expressive melody. Through the considerable stress and pain of a creative mind, he ventured to a space of unprecedented exposure of what it sounds like to walk into a new era of understanding of human rights. With the active support of the whole film team and loyalty of Ava overseeing the project to new heights, The Golden Globe nominated film reassures the justification and significance of the movements made in 1965 that reinvented present experience in today’s social construct.