205

Paul Motian: Time and Time Again

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Motian: Time and Time Again The word abstract, when applied to jazz or music in general, is that which has little or none of the components that provide the mind, through the ears, structure and form through repetition.

Most would agree that rhythm is the most basic in that the repetition of groups of beats and the accents upon them quickly gives structure and allows almost anything else to happen over it. Harmony and melody are the other two components that can be more or less clear and obvious. Concrete music generally has more of all three and completely abstract music has little.

Time and Time Again is fascinating music in that so much is said with so little obvious structure. Continually dancing on the edge of total abstraction, drummer Paul Motian, guitarist Bill Frisell and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, who have been together as a trio for almost thirty years, make music of gossamer beauty that defies analysis.

There is virtually no clear rhythmic pulse anywhere on the record, save for Thelonious Monk's "Light Blue", no clear harmonic movement except in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine" and, perhaps, "Wednesday" (plus the Monk). Full-blown melody is present only in the standard and everywhere else it is represented more as phrases.

So what is it that makes this sparse music so fulfilling? Motian is less a drummer than a percussive colorist who uses mostly cymbals and small drums with brushes. Frisell is less a guitarist than a plucking web weaver who occasionally uses electronics. Even Lovano plays his instrument against expectation in that he stays mostly in the high register.

The byword here is patience and lack of expectation. Do not try to impose structure on this music but rather listen to the three lines (and yes, the drumming is most definitely a line) interact. Listen to these master musicians react in real time to each other, producing music of great depth.

What you might find happening as the record is played again and again is that its secrets open themselves willingly to you. More pulse, melody and harmony will appear and suddenly become obvious, which means they were always there. The abstract will become concrete. Did the music change or did you?

Perhaps you will hear the melodic contour of "Wednesday" resemble a stretched out "Light Blue." Perhaps the inclusion of the standard, and especially the Monk tune, will be seen as helping you see concreteness and abstraction not as mutually exclusive, but rather as being on a continuum.

Frisell says that it "feels new every time" he plays with Motian and Lovano, despite the familiarity that time brings. Music that forever remains new to the listener is a rare thing. As they say when practicing yoga—just remember to breathe.

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

Personnel: Paul Motian: drums; Bill Frisell: guitar; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone.

Title: Time And Time Again | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Sign of the Crow" CD/LP/Track Review Sign of the Crow
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 30, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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