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Paul Motian Trio 2000+ Two - Live at the Village Vanguard - Volume 2

Back in stock 9/2/9

SMH International JAZZ ALBUM of the YEAR 2008 -- 30/12/2008

SMH Review January 2009 - ALBUM of the WEEK:

   We will never hear Paul Motian in Australia. Now 77, jazz's most significant living drummer no longer leaves New York City to perform or record. We should, however, just be grateful he is still playing, and at such a rarefied level that he only deals in essences.

His virtuosity is quite contrary to the commonly accepted sense of the word: he is a virtuoso of the actual act of creation, rather than being a mere virtuoso of craft.

Motian's obliqueness lends a mystery to all he plays. He is to jazz what Turner was to land- and seascapes: a painter of mood and drama, and the hard outlines of base reality be damned.

Motian smudges over a pulse with joyous freedom, and inserts rhythmic epigrams into rubato music. In the whole pantheon of living practitioners perhaps only Ornette Coleman has been as successful at venting pure expression while staying under the broad umbrella of jazz.

For this live recording at the Village Vanguard Motian's trio with tenor saxophonist Chris Potter and bassist Larry Grenadier was joined by pianist Masabumi Kikuchi (a regular collaborator), alto saxophonist Greg Osby and viola player Mat Manieri.

Despite being superb at sympathetically shading a soloist, Motian is also capable of mighty punches. Of course these are never flashy whirls around the kit: crassness is not in his lexicon. But some single bass drum jabs (combined with cymbal crashes) at the end of the piano solo on  "Sunflower" and at the conclusion of "The Divider" will have you praying your building doesn't have concrete cancer. This is a monstrous sound: quite distinct from the general soft cushioning of the music's bottom end he provides.

"Sunflower" also contains electrifying playing from Kikuchi, surely the most perfect collaborator among the many great pianists Motian has worked with, notwithstanding the fact the list includes Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley and Marilyn Crispell.

Both make rhythm entirely subservient to mood, so they work in surges, intensifying and releasing the music against the underlying pulse. Kikuchi can also apply a Dadaist sense of humour that arcs between one phrase of desolate beauty and the next.

Bassist Larry Grenadier participates in this complex dialogue with ears the size of an African elephant, sometimes maintaining a groove the others have vacated, or, if he joins them in the
suspension, still generally playing an anchoring role, rather than offering a melodic counterpoint.

The maturing of Chris Potter is a joy to behold. His playing has grown earthier, so now it occasionally reminds somewhat me of another old Motian colleague, the late Dewey Redman. His lines billow against the master drummer, where those of Osby slice, and the pair create fat harmonies on several of Motian's melodies. Manieri pops up on the brief sketch of "If You Could See Me Now" and then digs in deeper on the lurching "Fiasco", which could be an anthem for our times.

John Shand





The American-Turkish-Armenian drummer Paul Motian, born 1931 in Philadelphia, is one of the most fascinating jazz artists today.

Motian who was a member of the legendary Bill Evans Trio played also with Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett and he can look back on experiences with Lennie Tristano, Tony Scott and Coleman Hawkins.

He even appeared with Billie Holiday and Thelonious Monk in his youth and performed with Arlo Guthrie at the legendary Woodstock Festival.

From the late 1970s, Motian has mainly formed his own groups, ranging from the excitement of the Paul Motian Trio (without a bassist) featuring guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe Lovano to the Electric Bebop Band (with two electric guitar players) and the Trio 2000 + One with Chris Potter on sax and Larry Grenadier on bass plus one of Motian's favorite musicians, Masabumi Kikuchi on piano.

Since his youth Paul Motian is performing regularly at the Village Vanguard. And in the last couple of years the Village Vanguard is one of the very few places on earth where it is possible to experience Motian's music live in concert because for the sake of his health he is not any more allowed to go on tour.

Motian's music is special, space and sound are most important. The pauses in his music, in between two piano chords, or after a saxophone melody or before the sound of his drums are the most intense moments in music. Pauses are silence but full of tension especially when Paul Motian plays. The explosiveness of space and silence can only be heard or felt when the sound of music reaches another level. "Everything comes from the sound. It is the sound of my drums. It is the sound of whatever I'm hearing. (...) I am getting my ideas from the other people I am playing with. I am getting my ideas from the sound. That is really the most important thing."

Drummer Paul Motian, the saxophonists Greg Osby and Chris Potter, the viola player Mat Maneri, Larry Grenadier on bass and the pianist Masabumi Kikuchi perform together live at the Village Vanguard.

Paul Motian grants freedom and trust to each player and the players communicate with each other with such creativity and deep honesty creating the most beautiful sound of jazz today. Motian listens to the music of the players who are performing with him, his music is not precast, his music rises when he hears the sound. Motian's performances are a momentum of a force. Winter & Winter recorded Paul Motian live at the Village Vanguard to capture this unique momentum of sound.

»Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume II« presents original compositions by Paul Motian besides the opening track "Till we meet again" by Richard A. Whiting and "If you could see me now" by Tadd Dameron. Motian has a magical presence which gives to the musicians the extraordinary ability to find a place for their free artistic development. Motian offers to the musicians a chance to express themselves without any restriction. And the musicians take that chance and reach a new horizon and create a wonderful listening experience.

Trio 2000 are Paul Motian, Chris Potter and Larry Grenadier. The Japanese piano player Masabumi Kikuchi and Paul Motian perform together since many years, both artists also lead with Gary Peacock the cooperative group "Tethered Moon". Larry Grenadier on bass is the congenial musical partner in this rhythm section, Grenadier recorded already with Motian and Kikuchi the wonderful album »Paul Motian on Broadway, Volume IV« featuring saxophonist Chris Potter. Greg Osby (a member of the M-Base group) on alto in change with the viola player Mat Maneri complete this group. Motian sets up a careful selected line-up of outstanding jazz artists to play at the Village Vanguard.

This album is a wonderful oeuvre of Motian's music, a great example of one of todays most original jazz groups playing with sound, space and silence.

– Stefan Winter

Paul Motian Trio 2000+ Two - Live at the Village Vanguard - Volume 2 


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