All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

129

Paul Motian Band: Garden of Eden

Sean Patrick Fitzell By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Paul Motian Band: Garden of Eden For about the last fifteen years, drummer Paul Motian has explored the possibilities of two guitars, two saxophones, bass and drums with his Electric Bebop Band. Always drawing from a revolving cast of younger, emergent musicians, he augments the lineup with another guitar on Garden of Eden.

Though a septet with this instrumentation could easily become dense and busy, the tunes are carefully arranged and skillfully executed with a billowy lightness. Saxophonists Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek alternate from playing strict unisons to freer swirling lines, while the cleanly phrased guitars of Steve Cardenas, Ben Monder and Jakob Bro (the newest member) weave intricate harmonies underneath. Bassist Jerome Harris often propels the group with deft lines, and Motian's painterly drumming adds structure, texture and nuance. Like having a good discussion, the musicians add their voice without overpowering, exemplified on the atmospheric "Etude, a Motian composition.

The modified instrumentation of this septet also signals a shift in emphasis from reinterpretation of the jazz canon to original music. "Mesmer boasts an uncomplicated, almost folksy melody repeated by Cheek as Malaby modulates the theme by doubling the line or playing only snatches of it to alter its feel. The guitarists also toy with the sequence, so that the theme is heard in varying phases with different voicings. The tune spotlights Harris, who is free to improvise around the others' movement. This is a recurrent pattern: whether it's Bro's twisting on "Mumbo Jumbo, Monder's shimmering against the swingy motif of "Prelude to Narcissus, or Malaby's soaring exclamations on "Endless, one or two musicians are featured on each tune, the others mutually supportive.

With fourteen tracks totaling just under 57 minutes (the longest around is around seven minutes), this music is not a parade of soloists playing over changes. Rather, it's about collective expression, each piece evocative of a different mood.


Track Listing: Pithecanthropus Erectus; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Etude; Mesmer; Mumbo Jumbo; Desert Dream; Balata; Bill; Endless; Prelude 2 Narcissus; Garden of Eden; Manhattan Melodrama; Evidence; Cheryl.

Personnel: Chris Cheek: saxophones; Tony Malaby: saxophones; Jakob Bro: guitar; Ben Monder: guitar; Steve Cardenas: guitar; Jerome Harris: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
Extended Analysis
Profiles
Extended Analysis
Jazz Poetry
Interviews
Read more articles
ECM Recordings
ECM Recordings
ECM Records
2014
buy
[no cover]
Paul Motian
Soul Note
2013
buy
Paul Motian: Jack of Clubs
Paul Motian: Jack of...
Soul Note
2013
buy
Paul Motian: Paul Motian (Old & New Masters Edition)
Paul Motian: Paul...
ECM Records
2013
buy
The Windmills Of Your Mind
The Windmills Of Your...
Winter & Winter
2011
buy
Paul Motian Trio 2000 + Two: Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume lll
Paul Motian Trio 2000...

2011
buy
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
Joe Lovano Joe Lovano
saxophone
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Don Cherry Don Cherry
trumpet
Kenny Wheeler Kenny Wheeler
trumpet
Fred Hersch Fred Hersch
piano

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.