There's always magic in the air whenever Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano get together and this album is no exception. A sequel to the brilliant I Have the Room Above Her
(ECM, 2005), this is another master painting by these fine artists. Jazz has always favored individual voices and expressionism, and these players have proven themselves undisputed masters on their instruments. But jazz also favors teamwork, something that is definitely evident on Time and Time Again
. Several decades on, the musical partnership between drummer Motian, saxophonist Lovano and guitarist Frisell is stronger than ever.
Since no bass or piano is used here, whatever the band tries to express is done in a reflective and calm manner. Contemplation is the key word. The musicians create an alluring aural palette that mesmerizes, mystifies and beguiles. They breathe throughout as one organism, building subtle layers on tracks such as the meditative "Cambodia" and "Light Blue," shifting harmonic constructions seamlessly on the raucous "OneTwo" and wandering lonely towards the spontaneous improvisation "In Remembrance of Things Past." "Wednesday" has some beautiful whirling sax melodies, with Motian's elegant brushes sounding like birds' wings. The overall setting is perfect for Frisell's relaxed, lyric style, his guitar providing beautiful tapestries. All of the compositions have an ethereal and fluid quality, thus giving an impression of almost effortless improvisational mastery.
From the opening of "Cambodia" until the closing title track, the compositions have a strange and creative dreaminess about them. One moment things are sneakily avant-garde, the next, conservatively lyrical. As a collective experiment in spontaneous collaboration, Time and Time Again is a great success.
Personnel: Paul Motian: drums; Bill Frisell: guitar; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone.