Sunday, February 18, 2007

Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band - Reincarnation of a Lovebird (JMT, 1994)

Drummer Paul Motian has led two stable bands over the past twenty plus years, a trio with saxophonist Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell and the ever-changing Electric Bebop Band, filled with a shifting lineup of up and coming young musicians. The version of the band that recorded this particular album included guitarists Wolfgang Muthspiel and Kurt Rosenwinkel , saxophonists Chris Potter and Chris Cheek, bassist Steve Swallow and percussionist Don Alias. It is very interesting to hear a band with this instrumentation take on the bebop repertoire. The musicians give the music a very light and nimble feel. Several performances on this album are very pithy, with the group stating the melody of a particular song, then taking a few brief solos before closing it out. This really works in favor of the music, and the concise readings of "Half Nelson", "Two Bass Hit" and "Bebop" have an exciting and propulsive feel. Performances of Charles Mingus's "Reincarnation of a Lovebird" and Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" are taken at greater length and allow the soloists more freedom of movement. The sound obtained by this band with its mixture of electric and acoustic instrumentation is unique and their reexamination of the bebop canon provides a fresh and new way of appreciating classic bebop compositions.

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