Jason Moran made exhilarating jazz by improvising on samples of someone talking on the phone in Turkish, of someone else reading a stock report in Chinese and of his older relatives reminiscing. On his 2006 album, Artist in Residence, he used edited samples of visual artist Adrian Piper talking as the basis for several songs. “Every person who speaks with their throat is singing a melody in their intonations,” Moran explains, “and their speech patterns create a rhythm. It’s easier to hear it in a foreign language because you’re not distracted by the content. When you’re in a Chinese restaurant and you hear them shout content back to the kitchen, you hear the music. As a traveling musician, you hear languages you don’t understand all the time.
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