Thread: Paul Motian
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:49 AM
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jazzgregg jazzgregg is offline
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Default Re: Paul Motian

Originally Posted by oops View Post
I searched pretty hard but couldn't find a thread for him, so here goes.

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My first experience with Paul was Bill Evan's Waltz For Debby (I was blown away by the brushwork and called up all my friends to ask them if they knew who it was).

Just yesterday i picked up Paul's "On Broadway, Vol. 2" album and I've been blown away again. Such brushwork, such musicality, such great solo ideas. He swings the band the infinity on "I Got Rhythm", check out his brushwork on "All The Things You Are". I love it. Any other suggestions for good albums? I've been shying away from his band leader albums because they're so expensive, but now maybe I'll invest.
Paul Motian is a genius, one of the greatest musicians of all time, without question. He is an innovator and a pure artist behind his drums. You can always tell it's Paul. His musical output as a sideman and a leader is thankfully pretty big. Depending on what kind of taste you have in Jazz, Paul has done some more traditional stuff (like the stuff you mention) and some less traditional stuff, like his groundbreaking trio with Frisell and Lovano.

Anyway, I digress, in the 70's, he had a few ECM and Soul Note dates under his own name, notably abd just to name a few : Jack of Clubs, Quartet, Conception Vessel, Dance and Le Voyage. He was also a member of Keith Jarrett's first band with Charlie Haden and sometimes Dewey Redman. Their albums are amazing (back when KJ wasn't phoning it in), I think there's an Impulse box set now of a best of, that might be a good place to start, but any of the albums are great (Expectations is maybe the 'foumous' one, or Smewhere Before). He also reuinited with KJ later to record 'At the Deer Head Inn' with Gary Peacock (DeJohnette couldn't make that gig).

Any Trio album (the Frisell/Lovano one) is a great bet but they get mellower with time, the recent ones are great (I Have the Room Above Her, Time and Time Again and It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago), just less intense. Paul plays more brushes (if they can be called that, he uses those plastic bristle ones) and more sparsely. My favourite is probably 'One Time Out'. Of Paul's solo bands, I have to say 'The Story of Maryam' is my favourite. Any time Paul is with Bill Frisell, it is the most sublime pairing on the planet. (Including their trio album with Ron Carter from a couple years ago, it's very good). They are a perfect compliment to each other and bring out the best, most creative playing in each other. I can't think of another pairing so magnetic, and Paul has been a catalyst for multiple musicians!

As the years have passed, Paul has chosen his notes even more sparingly and has eschewed playing 'time' almost all the time (there are some exceptions, like his appearance a few years back on Joe Lovano's albums with Hank Jones- both names escape me at the moment), favouring impressionistic comping and colouring the pulse rather than hammering out time.

His bandleader albums are worth the money if you like Paul! There are tons more albums he's on, but I hope this is a good start.


Last edited by jazzgregg; 11-04-2008 at 07:20 PM. Reason: spelling...
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