Monday, November 28, 2011

Goodbye Paul Motian

The great jazz drummer Paul Motian passed away last week at age 80. He was such a special musician, it's hard to put into words exactly how I feel about it. I saw him play so many times over the years, most often at the Village Vanguard with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano. That band has always been a personal favorite of mine, they always sounded great but if you caught them on a really inspired night it was otherworldly. I remember seeing them one night where they played a ballad that was so mesmerizing and beautiful that after the song ended there was a moment when the audience seemed to collect themselves, as though waking from a dream. People often talk about Paul Motian as a very abstract player, a kind of painter of sound at the drums. But he had such an incredible beat! When his trio with Frisell and Lovano would play a Monk tune like "Epistrophy" Paul would really dig into it, playing with such joy and near abandon and swinging like hell. There's a lot of Motian's music that I have yet to explore, thank goodness. The Vanguard won't be the same now without him.

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