Monday March 19, 2012
Joe Lovano Remembers Paul Motian
The tenor saxophonist pays tribute to the legendary drummer
By: Joe Lovano
I grew up listening to a lot of music that Paul was a part of. Obviously Bill Evans’ music, and a lot of things with Mose Allison. I was just hip to him from my dad’s record collection. In the early ’70s I went to Berklee after high school, and saw the Keith Jarrett Quartet at the Jazz Workshop. For me, that was the next quartet after the Coltrane Quartet, as far as the creativity and the spirit of the music. So I strived to play with those guys, and I joined Paul around 1981.
Paul was the type of cat who embraced the people he played with. All the bands that he played with, he turned them into really creative collective ensembles, and from the earliest recordings of Bill Evans we could hear that. But if you look at his discography, during the same period he was playing with Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz as well as Mose Allison and Bill Evans’ trio. And then he played with Albert Ayler in the ’60s and was still doing things with Jarrett. And then Arlo Guthrie. Paul lived a beautiful experience in the world of music.
As a composer he developed like that as well. That’s why his music was really folklike and he created vehicles to improvise. He didn’t write pieces of music that you just played and then repeated; he wrote pieces of music that were springboards.
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