Jason Moran’s Fats Waller mask

Jason Moran in his Fats Waller mask, with singer Meshell Ndegeocello, right. Photo by Robert Torres for the Celebrity Series of Boston.

Jason Moran in his Fats Waller mask, with dancer Pampi and singer Meshell Ndegeocello, far right. Photo by Robert Torres for the Celebrity Series of Boston.

It’s impossible to overstate how powerful masks can be. Here’s Jason Moran in his Fats Waller mask, designed by Didier Civil. “This mask is hot!” Moran said after removing it at about the mid-point of his Friday night Celebrity Series of Boston concert, “Fats Waller Dance Party.” You can read my Boston Globe review here. But I hardly had room to talk about that mask — oversized, expressive, it became the identity of the usually soft-spoken and understated Moran. When that big bobble head Fats Waller turned to look at the audience, you believed it. After removing the mask (he said he’s worn it in about 30 performances, and it’s getting a little ripe), Moran put it back on to finish the show.

By the way, the excellent dancers were recruited locally and asked to improvise through the show — which they did impressively: Pampi, Jenaya Dailey, and Jon Shaw-Mays.

Here’s the set list, via the Celebrity Series:

Ain’t Misbehavin
Lulu’s Back in Town
Yacht Club Swing
Handful of Keys
Ain’t Nobody’s Business
Honeysuckle Rose
Fat Lick – drum and piano duet
Two Sleepy People
Sheik of Araby / Joint is Jumpin’

Encore
Jitterbug Waltz (played slowly, acoustic piano)

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