Album review. Recorded at the NY Village Vanguard, the venue for so many great jazz albums that combine the spontaneity of playing before a live audience with near studio recording quality.
Release date: March 9th 2010
Availability: CD, MP3 Download
Recorded at the NY Village Vanguard, the venue for so many great jazz albums that combine the spontaneity of playing before a live audience with near studio recording quality, 'Lost In A Dream' is a new addition to drummer Paul Motian's work.
Dispensing with bass in a trio featuring saxophone, piano and drums is an approach similar in some ways to those made by saxophonists Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and Joshua Redman in dispensing with piano in a saxophone-led trio. The dynamics are similar. The sound space is opened up; new challenges emerge that push the players in new directions. The band – Paul Motian (drums), Chris Potter (saxophones), Jason Moran (piano) – makes full use of these possibilities in a programme based around Paul Motian compositions. Three are reworkings of earlier material – 'Birdsong' (from Enrico Rava's 'Tati') and 'Drum Music' and 'Abacus' (from Paul Motian's 'Le Voyage').
The programme is rounded out by a take on the Irving Berlin standard 'Take Care It's My Heart'. The three free jazz improvisations – 'Ten', 'Drum Music' and 'Abacus' - serve as an intermission to what is an otherwise largely contemplative approach.
credit: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times*
Paul Motian's drumming is minimalist throughout, suggesting texture, opening up space. Jason Moran plays sparkling piano lines and uses strong left hand runs to fill the role vacated by bass. There has never been a better situation to hear Chris Potter's lyricism on tenor saxophone, here beautifully recorded, at times suggesting Joe Lovano, and, as on 'Blue Midnight', Michael Brecker. His playing really shines against the lean backdrop.
Chris Potter had been a part of Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band. As he told journalist Bill Milkowski:
'Motian has really had a big effect on the way that I think about music: he approaches things from such an anti-analytical way. He relies on his aesthetic sensibility and his instinct. It takes a lot of courage to do that.'
Jason Moran and Chris Potter have worked together in Dave Holland's bands. 'Lost In A Dream' is a natural coming together of these connections. And this shows in the closeness of the interplay between them.
The new compositions – 'Mode VI' , 'Casino', 'Lost In A Dream', Blue Midnight, 'Cathedral Song' - are the heart of the album and show the clarity and elegance of Paul Motian as composer.
This is an arresting album, memorable for the bringing together of three fine players in a musical and a physical environment where great jazz can be made.
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*New York Times Review of 3 in 1 at the Village Vanguard
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