176

Perpetual Motian: An Old Cat with New Tricks

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count








Enrico Pieranunzi/Marc Johnson/Paul Motian
Untold Story
Egea
2007


Joe Lovano/Bill Frisell/Paul Motian
Time & Time Again
ECM
2007




Having circumnavigated the sun for over three-quarters of a century now, drummer Paul Motian shows no signs of altering his orbital momentum; two meetings with old friends demonstrate his freshness and vitality—his eternal youth.

Untold Story, a recently exhumed recording from 1993, is a trio outing with Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi and bassist Marc Johnson. The session documents Pieranunzi as an emerging voice, arising from and through the twin pillars of Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, embracing and embellishing these influences to create something of his own. Motian is ever the understatesman, though his style in this period seems denser, less implied. Johnson is in fine fettle: his stuttered licks on the opening cut continually climb without truly ascending, like M.C. Escher's perpetual-motion staircase illusion, and his shout-outs on "Improlude are heeded by centripetal piano figures. From the hesitant authority of "Chantango (with a catchy 3+3+3+2+2 beat structure) to the swinging combustion of Motian's "Abacus, to the standout "Mode VI , with its sidewinding harmonies and easy swing, Pieranunzi and company deliver a well-balanced palette of three-way jazz transactivity.

Time and Time Again is the latest from Motian's ongoing collaboration with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell, one of the most consistently satisfying groups in improvisative music. Largely a collection of the drummer's compositions—vignettes of Americana diffracted through the lens of counterculture sensibilities—the set also includes Lovano's angular "Party Line (an apt metaphor for these trio-ly conversations) and two unusual gems: Monk's "Light Blue plus Rodgers & Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine .

Most of the tracks get right to the point: rather than stretching out, the group stretches 'in', creating infinite space and variation in the small cracks and crevices of the musical veneer. Motian's timekeeping seems to be everywhere and nowhere at once, not so much deconstructing the beat as displacing it in disparate voicings across his drumkit. Frisell's guitarisms, rooted in the fingerings and fretboard patterns germane to the instrument, sound otherworldly in the hands of this master; and Lovano, the consummate craftsman, plies his trademark 'quiet fire'. It is a great satisfaction to listen in on these three as they go about their pleasures.


Tracks & Personnel

Untold Story

Tracks: Chantango; Abacus; Episode; For Your Peace; September Waltz; Mode VI; Improlude; Dream Book; Django.

Personnel: Enrico Pieranunzi: piano; Marc Johnson: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Time & Time Again

Tracks: Cambodia; Wednesday; Onetwo; Whirlpool; In Remembrance of Things Past; K.T.; This Nearly Was Mine; Party Line; Light Blue; Time & Time Again.

Personnel: Joe Lovano; Bill Frisell; Paul Motian.


Shop

More Articles

Read Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read Duke Ellington on Storyville Records Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read Lee Morgan On Music Matters Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 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 "Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again" Multiple Reviews Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Leonard Cohen and His Legacy" Multiple Reviews Leonard Cohen and His Legacy
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Montreux Through The Decades: Jazz Recordings, Part One" Multiple Reviews Montreux Through The Decades: Jazz Recordings, Part One
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Psalms and Poetry: Den Danske Salmeduo and Nicolai Munch-Hansen" Multiple Reviews Psalms and Poetry: Den Danske Salmeduo and Nicolai...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 2, 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!