Thursday, April 05, 2007

Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano - Time and Time Again (ECM, 2007)

It's quite a cliche amongst longstanding groups, but these three gentlemen have been playing together for nearly 25 years and have developed a near telepathic level of communication. Drummer Motian, guitarist Frisell and tenor saxophonist Lovano are leaders of long standing who subvert their egos for the greater good. This album has a hushed and melancholy feel, with Frisell standing out , playing with a wonderfully sharp jazzy tone, much different then the more rounded and muted tone he has taken in his own solo projects. The band is not afraid to play quietly, Motian's subdued brushwork and stick playing is very nuanced, and Lovano uses long breathy notes and short exclamations to great effect on tracks like "Wednesday" with it's sad floating feel, propelled by deft brushwork and Frisell's sweet accompaniment, and "This Nearly Was Mine" which has a majestic tenor saxophone solo from Lovano who gets a beautifully patient ballad tone. They raise the tempos a little on the simmering "Onetwo" where Frisell spills out a sharp-edged solo over Motian's stick work while Lovano probes for an opening like someone wearily poking an animal with a stick. As good as these individual tracks are, the impact of the music really comes through the most when taking the album as a whole. These three musicians are master craftsmen, and in this case they take their time to create an unhurried, thoughtful disc of very good music.

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