Monday, March 18, 2013


In advance of the Paul Motian memorial concert place taking place this Friday at Symphony Space, I've prepared this oral-history-style homage for TONY. I'd like to thank all the participants for taking the time to share their thoughts. The sometimes-lengthy phone conversations (Frisell, Lovano, Baron, Hart, Cyrille) were particularly enthralling. As you'll see, I stayed out of the way and printed a lot of quoted material. Motian's friends, collaborators and colleagues really loved him; they were also, it seems, a bit awed by him—and still are.

I've been re-immersing in the Motian discography over the past week or so, from the early ECM leader dates (being reissued soon) all the way up through Lost in a Dream and Masabumi Kikuchi's Sunrise, with a long, lingering stopover at Time and Time Again. The music is an ocean; you can't even come close to "knowing" it, let alone exhausting it. I'm thankful—credit here goes both to Motian himself and to the various labels that documented him so steadfastly—that he left so much music behind. As Greg Osby puts it in the aforelinked piece, "Paul lives."

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