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100 Jazz Profiles
Paul Motian
1931 - present
Drummer and bandleader. Although he studied drums in the Navy School of Music in Washington, there has never been anything militaristic about Motian's prolific work as a jazz drummer. In the mid-1950s, he played with a host of jazz stars including Stan Getz, George Russell and Thelonious Monk, but his major association was with pianist Bill Evans, both in Evans's trio and as a member of other groups, such as the quartet led by clarinettist Tony Scott.

With Bill Evans
, he developed a way of playing that mirrored the pianist's phrasing and approach, often abandoning aspects of the drummer's traditional time-keeping role. He went on to prove that he is one of the finest trio drummers in jazz history, working with the free-jazz influenced group of Paul Bley and the more wide-ranging Keith Jarrett Trio.

During the decade
he played with Jarrett (1967-76), Motian developed a particular rapport with bassist Charlie Haden, in whose own groups he toured and recorded from time to time, from the 1960s to the 1990s.

From the late 1970s
, Motian has mainly fronted his own groups, ranging from the excitement of his Electric Bebop Band (which pitted two guitarists against a saxophone player, backed by bass and drums) to more conventional jazz trios and quartets. His lomg-standing trio with saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell is particularly noteworthy.

Further Reading:

Gary Giddins: Joe Lovano (The Long Apprenticeship) Visions Of Jazz (New York, OUP. 1998)

Recommended CD:

Bill Evans (JMT 834 445) (Motian's tribute to his former boss)
Suggested track: Re: Person I Knew
 
Recommended links:
Paul Motian at Europe Jazz Network
With bio and links

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