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Paul Motian Trio at The Village Vanguard: Sound of Love

Glenn Astarita By

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Jazz afficionados should be enamored that Stefan Winter's "Winter & Winter label is getting distribution Stateside. Winter was the founder of the excellent "JMT" record label which was infamous for showcasing new talent ala Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Geri Allen and veteran superstars like Paul Motian. The productions were generally inventive, first-rate, and state of the art. A few years back, much to the chagrin of jazz fans, JMT closed shop. Thankfully, Mr Winter is back among us and hopefully this will represent a new milestone for jazz listeners. Two releases of note are: The Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell Trio release and the critically praised Uri Caine "Mahler" cd. The stylish artwork, packaging remains intact and the celebration begins with the Paul Motian Trio.

Without the benefit of a press kit it seems that the sessions here are derived from the Trio's June, 1995 stint at New York City's Village Vanguard which produced the CD Live at the Village Vanguard in 1995. Here, the Trio pays homage to Monk with renditions of Monk's Misterioso and Epistrophy. Duke Ellington's Sound of Love, penned by Charles Mingus represents the the CD's title and generates the tone of the sessions.

Motian, again is the band leader. His gentle brush strokes, impecable timing, delicacy, prodding and explorations of the kit serve as a perfect vehicle for the incredible interplay between saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell. Motian continues to explore the fine art of percussion. He is a master of his craft. Motian will not bombard us with poly-rhythmic bravado but explores the subtle nuances and timbre of drums as if he were playing a Stradivarius violin. Lovano's treatments of Motian original compositions and the classics are superb. Joe Lovano is the consummate improviser and story teller. Bill Frisell performs brilliantly. His axe is toned down even more so than the previous JMT Motian Trio releases. Frisell's unique approach is ever a source of amazement. He uses the volume control as an extension of his instrument in order to create ethereal moods and a sense of space. The groundbreaking excellence should come as no surprise to long time fans of this band. Yes, their approach could be considered cerebral at times but magic lies within the music's uncanny accessibility. The Trio extends their reach into unchartered territory and they once again create sonic landscapes that defy categorization. This is a 5 star performance from one of the great modern bands of the last decade.

Track Listing: Misterioso; Duke Ellington's Sound of Love; Mumbo Jumbo; Once Around The Park, Good Morning Heartache; Epistrophy; Play.

Personnel: Paul Motian: drums; Joe Lovano : sax; Bill Frisell: guitar;

Title: Sound of Love | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


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