Paul Motian has enjoyed one of the most fulfilling careers in jazz today. Having rich experiences ranging from performing with Thelonius Monk to appearing with Arlo Guthrie at the legendary Woodstock Festival (what a treat that must have been!) to being a member of the Bill Evans Trio, Motian must feel truly blessed. His powerful gift of vision and style has provided excitement in the form of many of his own groups, including one featuring guitarist Bill Frisell. This live offering, Live at the Village Vanguard, is proof positive of the good time Motian is still having with all of this.
The press piece states: "This album is a wonderful oeuvre of Motian’s music, a great example of one of today’s most original jazz groups playing with sound, space and silence." What’s this about silence, you ask? Well, it turns out that the pauses in Motian’s music be it in between two piano chords or before the sound of his drums--are deliberate and intended for full effect, which it obviously has in the world of free jazz expression.
There is a truly unique quality about Motian’s music that cannot be denied. The fusion between free jazz and classic arrangements is riveting, if for no more reason than curiosity. This is pretty heavy, totally expressive, cerebral jazz. This live performance is full of creativity and nuance. The crowd seemed to have loved it, and one can clearly understand why.