Texan of the Year nominee: Jason Moran

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 21 at 9:12 PM

Being a Texan means challenging authority, staking your claim, and venturing out into wide horizons with endless possibilities.

So, if someone goes into New York City, stands up to the establishment and says "here's a better way — my way — of doing it," that person has to be "Texan of the Year."

Jason Moran took his talents as a musician and composer from Texas to the Big Apple years ago, and fought for every little piece of territory he could find.

In his words, he looked to the history of jazz musicians — then blazed his own trail and veered way off course.

Eventually, his brand of jazz went from "unconventional" to "revolutionary."

This year Moran was honored by the MacArthur Foundation as one of its fellows. It's known as a "genius grant" — $500,000 to spend on research and self-improvement with no strings attached.

Moran said he plans to use the money to do things right, and do them without the influence of the powers that be in popular music.

He will no doubt use some of that money to teach younger musicians at the New England Conservatory, and ask himself what else is out there.

Like all Texans, Moran embraces a history with a sense of community and self discovery, and continues the adventure on his own.

For challenging the establishment and staking his own claim, I nominate Jason Moran for 2010 "Texan of the Year."

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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