In Motian: Change of Heart & Think Like the Waves


Sign in to view read count

Martin Speake
Change of Heart

Gordon Grdina
Think Like the Waves

Paul Motian celebrated his diamond (75th) birthday in March. The drummer with bigger ears than creds didn't get to that august age by overplaying his kit. He has spun out drum lines as brilliant as diamonds and fine as platinum wire with many pianists and is enjoying a resurgence as ur-leader with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano. He plays just a little less than a little too much, leaps synapses rather than kicks ass. Here his low-key animation and glinting brushwork foment cohesive interplay and his lucid textures and free rhythmic space help lift two introspective dates from brooding obscurantism.

Martin Speake's alto sax floats over his wistful originals on Change of Heart with little overt effect. He employs light attack like Mark Turner and bright tone á la Paul Desmond. The opening "Healing Power of Intimacy has much quiet motion under a line quoting "Lone Prairie . Most tracks are quietly motile, but "Barefaced Thieves simmers aplenty, propelled by Motian's slicing (not slashing) cymbals and abrupt (never brusque) rolls. Cymbals underline pianist Bobo Stenson's stolidly chordal introduction to the morose "Buried Somewhere ; infrequent yet intuitively timed accents hit precisely at Speake's climaxes as Adam Vinatieri field goals; and a martial snare drum pattern takes it out. In a Konitz/Tristano unison linear vein, "Venn finds Motian's light stickwork amiably propulsive. He keeps ideas churning behind dead-slow dirges "Three Hours and "In Code .

Motian and veteran bass-mate Gary Peacock give life lessons in looseness to folksy Vancouver guitarist Gordon Grdina on Think Like the Waves. Here the 14 tracks are short, the pace brisk and controls are strict. The 3/4 pace of "Yellow Spot In The Sun becomes a merry romp in their hands. "Different Places transforms from staid chorale to bright dialogue for bass and guitar as Motian stirs the air; "Platform erects a three-leg daïs of delightful discourse and "Combustion hums with raw swing. When Grdina unpacks his detuned oud on "Renunciation , "Morning Moon and the title track, the vets up the ante, laying on robust micro-rhythms, Eastern dance motifs, amid few thoughtful tacets. Structures become less tight, more fluid, with moments of break-out joy.

Like the stone in the soup, Motian, a fountain of the music, keeps the flow fresh, the sound new and enriches whatever players put into it.

Tracks and Personnel

Change of Heart

Tracks: The Healing Power of Intimacy; Change of Heart; Barefaced Thieves; Venn; Buried Somewhere; In The Moment; Three Hours; In Code.

Personnel: Martin Speake: alto saxophone; Bob Stenson: piano; Mick Hutton: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Think Like the Waves

Tracks: Yellow Spot into the Sun; Different Places; Platform; Renunciation; Morning Moon; Ginger Root; 100 Years; Distant; Combustion; Think Like the Waves; Cobble Hill; Albert the Monk; String Quartet #6; Strathcona.

Personnel: Gordon Grdina: guitar, oud; Gary Peacock: bass; Paul Motian: drums.


More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Albert We Hardly Knew Ye" Multiple Reviews Albert We Hardly Knew Ye
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "The Unity Sessions / Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" Multiple Reviews The Unity Sessions / Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads" Multiple Reviews Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads
by John Eyles
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!