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Friday, March 25, 2011

Paul Motian is eighty!

Birthday greetings to Paul Motian, a relentlessly creative musician who has elevated the art of independence over the course of the last six decades.

A highly original drummer, Paul has helped change the course of jazz history several times, as a member of, successively, Bill Evans' great trio with Scott La Faro, Paul Bley’s proto-free trio (see ECM 1003), and the trio of Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian (which, with the addition of Dewey Redman, was to become Jarrett’s great American Quartet).

Motian made his first ever “leader” date for ECM in 1972, “Conception Vessel” introducing his compositions to the world, with Jarrett and Haden as participating musicians. Haden and Motian can be heard together again on the forthcoming “Live at Birdland” disc with Lee Konitz and Brad Mehldau.

And, of course, Paul Motian has led many bands of his own through the years, the most celebrated being perhaps the trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, introduced on ECM in 1984 with the album “It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago” and continuing its work in the 21st century with discs including “I Have The Room Above Her” and “Time And Time Again”. In 2009 Motian introduced a new trio, with Jason Moran and Chris Potter, on the critically-acclaimed “Lost In A Dream”.

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