Black Stars (album)

Black Stars is the third album led by American pianist and composer Jason Moran which features saxophonist Sam Rivers and was recorded in 2001 and released on the Blue Note label.[1][2]

Black Stars
Black Stars (album).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 2001
RecordedMarch 16-17, 2001
StudioSystems Two, Brooklyn, NY
LabelBlue Note
ProducerGreg Osby for Oztone Productions
Jason Moran chronology
Facing Left
Black Stars


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [3]

The AllMusic review by Steve Loewy called it an "arguably his best" stating "Moran evidences an affinity for complicated snakelike post-bop lines and solo improvisations that get to the heart of a melody. His style is never showy; he embraces simple, emotional statements sophisticated in their mystery. Rivers' presence is a clear asset, and threatens to overwhelm the pianist at times. In fact, on some of the pieces it might appear that Rivers is the leader and Moran an excellent accompanist, a not unenviable position in itself. But Moran holds his own, evidencing a deep understanding of the jazz tradition that belies his youth. Moran keeps one eye on his influences and another to the future, something that Rivers has always done so well".[3]

The PopMatters review by James Beaudreau noted "It's a tantalizing lineup, and the album delivers on its promise, with a few caveats. The music is abstract and cerebral but is often possessed of a sinister groove, and many passages have a kind of crystalline beauty".[4]

All About Jazz reviewer C. Andrew Hovan said, "At a time when it seems that much of the current crop of new releases will have limited shelf lives at best, Moran’s music strikes a more profound chord ... All in all, this sleeper may just turn out to be one of the strongest Blue Note releases to make the scene in quite some time".[5]

In JazzTimes, Ron Wynn wrote "The 26-year-old Moran has resisted the easy lure of the young-lion mentality and concentrated on making highly personalized music. His teaming with Rivers on Black Stars ensures that it won’t be another trip down memory lane ... this is Moran’s album, even on those tunes where Rivers offers monster tenor or soprano solos. Moran’s never overwhelmed or undone by Rivers solos, and smoothly glides between being the session leader and retreating into the section".[6]

Track listingEdit

All compositions by Jason Moran except where noted

  1. "Foot Under Foot" – 5:28
  2. "Kinda Dukish" (Duke Ellington, Irving Mills) – 5:26
  3. "Gangsterism on a River" – 3:41
  4. "Earth Song" (Sam Rivers) – 7:23
  5. "Summit" – 7:06
  6. "Say Peace" – 4:12
  7. "Draw the Light Out" – 6:00
  8. "Out Front" (Jaki Byard) – 4:02
  9. "The Sun at Midnight" – 5:42
  10. "Skitter In" – 4:38
  11. "Sound It Out" – 3:44



  1. ^ Blue Note: album details accessed June 7, 2018
  2. ^ Jazzdisco: Jason Moran catalog accessed June 7, 2018
  3. ^ a b Steve, Loewy. Jason Moran – Black Stars > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  4. ^ Beaudreau, J. PopMatters Review accessed June 7, 2018
  5. ^ Hovan, C. Andrew. "Jason Moran: Black Stars". Musical reviews. All About Jazz. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Wynn, R. JazzTimes Review accessed June 7, 2018