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SUBJECT: Paul Motian 1931 - 2011 Back to Subjects
s in Boston
Nov 23 2011
at 12:23 PM
Very sad news out of New York yesterday. Here’s a link to Ben Ratliff’s piece: ~ ~ ~ I recall a fascinating interview Paul Motian did with Terry Gross on Fresh Air a few years ago - I hope they’ll replay that one sometime soon.
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Dec 06 2011
at 7:59 AM
Bookmark and Share Thanks s in Boston...great conversation on a great group.
s in Boston
Dec 05 2011
at 4:04 PM
Bookmark and Share Here’s a chopped up excerpt from a transcript of a radio interview Ethan Iverson did with Keith Jarrett, for the BBC, I think, talking about his "American Quartet," which featured Paul Motian on drums, of course. I recall hearing a recording of this interview but cannot find a link to it now. I got a kick out of what great and funny storyteller Keith is: KJ: . . . I have anecdotal stuff to say about the quartet, but it was a wild and crazy thing to try to do, to write for these guys, who all had their own… I would say Paul would be willing to play anything. I mean, for God’s sake, he worked with Arlo Guthrie and Mose Allison. (Mose was cool.) But Paul would play with anybody. He’d play anything. So I had this Armenian drummer who tuned his drums like Armenia would tune them, and Charlie, who was basically so out of it that he was fooling with his bass cover while he was supposed to be playing in time, and Dewey who was not coming in for his entry into the melody, and then I’d ask him why, and he’d say “Well, I was just having a glass of wine backstage, man.” . . . . EI: Of course, Paul played so differently with you than with Bill Evans. Jazz history hasn’t really caught up with Paul Motian yet. People are very aware of Paul’s being a part of the iconic Bill Evans trio, where he played some great brush work and that’s about it. But there were more years and more records with you, and certainly a greater variety of music... and also extremely aggressive drumming. KJ: Yeah. It was like Mozart. The piano is not supposed to be up front when you’re playing a Mozart concerto. You’re almost too soft. And with Paul, I didn’t have to try to be almost too soft. I loved it though, because I was also a drummer, so I knew what Paul was doing was so brilliantly correct for this situation that I was never gonna say a word about it. I couldn’t have ever imagined saying to Paul, “Paul, you’re playing too loud.” Here was a guy who was probably waiting for this, through the whole brushes thing with Bill. Bill didn’t want him to use sticks. And that’s where the writing became of utmost importance. There had to be a way to have Dewey not play on changes, to have Charlie not play vamps forever. (Although, when he wanted to play a vamp, there was nobody that plays them better than Charlie.) But Charlie always wanted to challenge the tonic, and challenge the chord he’s playing. He’s not always going to play the root. “I’m sorry, I’m not gonna play that damn root. I don’t care what you think.” And then every now and then, he’d play the root so beautifully that you’d just say, well, these are choices he’s making, I’m not gonna screw with this. This is an ensemble that’s supposed to be spontaneous and I think the way I’ve handled being a leader is one of the keys to why those, even the Norwegian quartet, why those things worked the way they did. Because there was no drill. I wasn’t a drill sergeant. Just to give you an example: Dewey was always late for things, forever and ever, Amen. I had driven into New York, we were rehearsing at Paul’s apartment, and Dewey was a couple of hours late. You know, we’re twiddling our thumbs... I don’t know what song this is...Dewey shows up, and he’s a very poor reader. (Charlie was a great reader.) Dewey was a very poor reader. He needed to “play this slow first.” And I didn’t have time for that. So I thought, okay. Alright. Paul: just play as though we’re playing fast, but it’s not a pulse. And Charlie: you know the piece, you can tell where we are. And Dewey: you just play whatever tempo you can read it. And that’s how it ended up being recorded, the same way. I never took Dewey aside and said, “Now you have to go to what my original concept was.” The concept had to be so flexible with that band, that even though I had music for it, I didn’t have to determine what was done with that music.
Dec 02 2011
at 11:15 PM
Bookmark and Share Heard the rebroadcast of the Fresh Air interview with Motian ... fantastic, strongly recommended!
Dec 02 2011
at 12:37 PM
Bookmark and Share It is being rebroadcasted today
Nov 29 2011
at 11:56 AM
Bookmark and Share Great story,bluepno.Sounds like besides being a great musician he was a great person and friend too. Thanks for sharing.
Nov 27 2011
at 10:08 AM
Bookmark and Share another good story on npr...
Nov 27 2011
at 9:01 AM
Bookmark and Share Amazing do you end up in just the right place so many times?
mario toni
Nov 27 2011
at 3:53 AM
Bookmark and Share Some people should live forever! R.I.P. Paul! :(
Nov 26 2011
at 6:39 AM
Bookmark and Share A genius of the sticks and spirit. I love his work. He’ll be missed.
Nov 23 2011
at 10:17 PM
Bookmark and Share Really loved his work, one of my favorite composers. RIP.
Nov 23 2011
at 2:14 PM
Bookmark and Share Very sad news. He was a brilliant musician and highly influential. RIP.
Nov 23 2011
at 2:02 PM
Bookmark and Share Indeed very sad news.
s in Boston
Nov 23 2011
at 1:32 PM
Bookmark and Share Here’s the link to the Fresh Air interview:
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