Paul Motian

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About Paul Motian

A masterfully subtle drummer and superb colorist, Paul Motian was also an advanced improviser and a bandleader with a taste for challenging post-bop. Playing with some of most unique pianists in jazz -- including Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, and Lennie Tristano -- must have rubbed off on drummer Motian. Consequently, he was himself a master of subtlety, playing with the impressionistic flair of many of these pianists and releasing albums like 1974's Tribute on ECM. From the '80s on until his death in 2011, Motian led one of the longest-lasting trios in jazz with saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell, the celebrated Paul Motian Trio (as collected on 2013's Old & New Masters), as well as another "downtown" ensemble, Paul Motian & the Electric Bebop Band. His own eclectic compositional style drew from bebop, fusion, and free jazz without being limited to any one of these genres.

Philadelphia, PA, United States
March 25, 1931
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