It's hard to make a song like Monk's "Light Blue," with its short repeated melody, sound right. By the way, who does play it on record or onstage nowadays? But this is not a problem for Paul Motian. With his atypical trio, he can imprint his personal mark on almost any type of song he chooses, since they will never play it in the usual way. Here, the trio repeats the melody six times with only slight changes before it starts improvising in a "theme-and-variation" kind of way, with Lovano and Frisell taking turns as lead voice, then accompanist, or going back to the melody in unison. Motian's light cymbal touch works as a rhythmic and melodic counterpoint to his partners' playing, and the whole illustrates beautifully one of the veteran drummer's great principles about music (which could also have been Monk's motto): less is more.
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