Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Paul Motian - On Broadway, Volume 5 (Winter and Winter, 2009)

Drummer Paul Motian has been mining a unique version of patient and subtle jazz since his emergence as a member of the famous Bill Evans trio in the 1950's. Recently he has been leading several bands, including this one that plumbs the depths of Broadway show tunes for their material. Joining him on this album are Loren Stillman and Michael Attias on saxophones, Thomas Morgan on bass and Masabumi Kikuchi on piano. "Morrock" opens with some mid-tempo lush piano chording and subtle percussion probing the song. Yearning and mournful horns accentuate the emotional impact. "Something I Dreamed Last Night" has slow, subtle baritone saxophone and longing alto playing in a melodic slow ballad form. Subtle brushwork from the leader underpins it all. Enigmatic piano is the hallmark of "Just a Gigolo" with strong yet flexible alto hinting at the melody over rumbling bass. "I See Your Face Before Me" has slow piano touching the melody in an oblique manner and low bluesy baritone sax which gains a Ben Webster like growl. Subtle and breathy alto alto makes its case along with a quiet interlude of bass and brushed percussion. "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" keeps the pace slow, but the gentle and melodic nature of the group's improvisation is interrupted by some groaning vocalizing by one of the band members that is quite distracting. "Midnight Sun" and "Sue Me" round out the album with gentle and probing performances marked by light and airy interjections from the horns. With the spacious nature of the music and the preponderance of slow tempos, the music here has a definite late-night vibe to it. Quiet and subtle reflections are the order of the day here, as the musicians take the source material and shape it to their will like clay. (Edit: corrections 11/13/09)
On Broadway, Vol. 5 - amazon.com

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