Paul Motian Trio: Misterioso




Paul Motian Trio


Sound of Love (Winter and Winter 8)

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Paul Motian (drums), Bill Frisell (guitar), Joe Lovano (tenor sax).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: Village Vanguard, NYC, June 1995


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

During the first week of 2009, Motian, Frisell, and Lovano just completed their annual two-week run at the Village Vanguard. It's amazing to think that this group, originally documented in 1984 on their debut record, It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago [ECM], has existed for twenty-five years -- until, that is, you listen to their frighteningly high level of musical mind-reading. Bass-less and certainly not bound to a steady, consistent ride-beat from Motian, these three musicians explore the intersection of melody, harmony and rhythm as freely and beautifully as any jazz trio ever has.

Their stunning ballad readings and renditions of Paul Motian’s underrated compositions can yield another dozens-sized list of worthy tracks here, but I’ve never seen the group without hearing an extended rendition of a Monk tune, and “Misterioso” seems to be the favorite choice. This live take from the middle of this group’s recorded history is about as “straight-ahead” as the group gets – Motian is steadily swinging more here than he usually chooses to with this group. Seemingly excited by this prospect, Lovano and Frisell really turn it on, both taking extended solos that burn from start to finish. Frisell is a man possessed throughout his duet with Motian here, and amidst the onslaught of notes and sound effects, the playful Monk vocabulary that he incorporates suits his style perfectly, and reveals one of his chief influences.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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