JASONMORAN: My wife Alicia Hall Moran and I, we met at music school, at Manhattan School of Music. She’s from the classical tradition and I’m from the jazz tradition. But both really still dealing with the African American perspective within those respective traditions.
ALICIAHALLMORAN: Something I always like to think about is a friend of mine who travels the world. She’s really wonderful and courageous and generous, does volunteer work all around the world. I once said to her, “How can you go out into these places and not understand what you’re going to get even as far as food and water source?” And she said, “Well, how can you live so near your parents?”
I think that’s it in a nutshell for me. It’s like, yeah, I’m going to figure these people out who raised me. I’m going to be in their face. Because that’s where all my good stuff is, and I want it, and I’m going to have to excavate for it.
So that’s kind of been the process I’ve done is look around me, do studies on the people that I know, who, luckily for me, many are brilliant. So that’s a long lifelong journey, and that’s what I think the Art Song project Jason and I are going to present is about.
We have work on our walls. We go to museums. We get to meet artists. Some are our friends. We really probably only have music as a way to honestly answer the effect that that’s had on our life. So we felt, with the invitation of the Whitney, being a perfect moment to really dig in and work hard for the reward of a good performance, this was the time to come real face-to-face with that and show how we’ve been inspired.
NARRATOR: In their five-day residency in the Whitney, Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran will perform, along with a number of collaborators. You’ll also see videos from past collaborations. To hear about some of the events, please tap the screen.