April 17, 2023

Photos: Jason Moran and the importance of Houston’s upcoming musicians

Thousands of Houstonians showed up to celebrate Jazzy Sundays in the Parks with one of the world’s best jazz musicians – Jason Moran.

At Discovery Green the grass is green, the leaves are back on the trees and spring has sprung in an explosion of color. Sunday was one of those Houston-magical days with lots of sun and blessedly low humidity. Families brought coolers, chairs, and lawn blankets. Those who arrived too late to find a spot on the hill, let their kids run on Jones Lawn while enjoying the free concert.

Jazzy Sundays in the Parks

The opening band for the concert, The Stuart Adams Collective, featured high school students from Moran’s alma-mater, the Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts. It was the perfect opportunity for Houston to experience a little of what the new generation of the city’s musicians are about. They did not disappoint.

The day was made possible not only by Kinder Foundation, but by Discovery Green’s community of donors who support the Conservancy’s mission to care for the uncommonly beautiful green space, and to shine a light on the diversity of traditions that exist in Houston.

While Moran now lives in New York, he serves as an ambassador of Houston’s music scene and talents. During his performance at Discovery Green, and again in discussions after, Moran lamented how many talented musicians leave Houston for places like New York or Los Angeles while noting how that tendency spreads Houston’s sound.

“There are people who leave their cities and hate their cities,” Moran said. “But us who come from here, we keep that core tight. We support each other. We really embrace one another and elevate one another. We talk about it and that’s why we keep coming back. We call (Houston) the crib.”

Shortly after receiving the MacArthur fellowship, Moran used his award to create 713 –>212, a series of concerts bringing together Houston musicians who now live in New York. It’s not unlike Solange who put together a music series, inspired by Houston’s Eldorado Ballroom, for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Moran’s message to Discovery Green supporters was simple: Houston must keep nurturing their young performers.

At Discovery Green connecting Houstonians with the city’s best musicians, artists and cultural performances is our goal. While performances are free for all to enjoy, they are not without expenses. Musicians, artists, production and operations staff must be paid.

You can help.

This spring Discovery Green must raise $30,000 by May 31 to offset our $6 million a year budget and keep programming free for everyone. Please consider becoming a donor. Every donation of $50 or more will receive a special 15th anniversary booklet with coloring pages designed by Houston artist Robin Whalan (while supplies last.) As always, donors also receive invitations to special meet and greets such as Sunday’s conversation with Jason Moran. www.discoverygreen.com/donate

Scroll through the photos above for a look at Jazzy Sundays in the Parks and join us at Discovery Green on April 23 for Diunna Greenleaf with Britney Bloom & Strangers on Earth and April 30 for Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits with Adriano Santos Brazilian Jazz Quartet. All concerts are from 5 – 7 pm. The series continues in May with concerts every Sunday at Buffalo Bayou Park.

Jason Moran plays at Discovery Green as part of Jazzy Sundays in the Parks made possible by Kinder Foundation. Photo by Jamaal Ellis