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Paul Motian: On Broadway Vol. 5 (2009)

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Paul Motian: On Broadway Vol. 5 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

An unorthodox timekeeper and masterful drummer, Paul Motian's momentum has not waned since working with Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
in the 1950s, Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
1937 - 2014
bass, acoustic
's Liberation Music Orchestra and Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
's American Quartet in the 1960s, and, more recently, younger artists including Jacob Sacks, Eivind Opsvik and Mat Maneri
Mat Maneri
Mat Maneri
b.1969
viola
in Two Miles a Day (Loyal Label, 2007). Among Motian's many recordings as a leader, his On Broadway series started in 1989, on the German JMT label, featuring past members Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
and Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, and now continues with On Broadway Vol. 5 , featuring enigmatic and moving interpretations of show-tunes and popular songs.

Whether it's Motian's slowly winding "Morrock" or the lovely read of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz's "I See Your Face Before Me," once sung by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
, these sumptuous gems seem to slow time and space with their balladry, mood and aesthetic qualities. The musicians take their time with these compositions, savoring each moment as they supply in-the-moment performances, buoyed by Motian's massaging tempos and feathery cymbal work.

The seven selections are rendered through a potent quintet. Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikichu has played in Motian's groups for many years. His atonal and occasionally excruciating audibles, reminiscent of Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
, are overshadowed by his wonderful phrasing and lyricism. The dual reeds of Loren Stillman
Loren Stillman
Loren Stillman
b.1980
sax, alto
and Michael Attias
Michael Attias
Michael Attias
b.1968
saxophone
illuminate differing tonalities—Attias' woody lower resonance and Stillman's upper timbre, complimenting each other as Thomas Morgan's bass anchors the melodies.

Jimmy McHugh/Harold Adamson's 1943 tune, "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening," is damn near perfect—not in just in it's execution, but also in the way it exudes emotion. The abstract coloring of Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
and Sunny Burke's "Midnight Sun" is denoted by Kikichu's brilliance, as the luxuriant horns state the time-weathered melody. The recording's curtain call, Frank Loesser's "Sue Me," from the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls, is simply divine as it delicately balances dissonance and harmony. Mirroring the entire set, it is a testament to the source material and Motian's own stylistic touches in keeping the music relevant and contemporary. At nearly 80 years of age, his vitality and art continue to inspire.

Track Listing: Morrock; Something I Dreamed Last Night; Just A Gigolo; I See Your Face Before Me; A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening; Midnight Sun; Sue Me.

Personnel: Paul Motian: drums; Thomas Morgan: bass; Loren Stillman: saxophone; Michael Attias: saxophone; Masabumi Kikuchi: piano.

Record Label: Winter & Winter

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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