November 22, 2011. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO says goodbye to our friend drummer Paul Motian, who passed away early this morning at age eighty at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.
Motian first rose to prominence in the fifties in Bill Evans' trio with bassist Scott LaFaro, then played with Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, and hundreds of others. He also led a trio for more than twenty years with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell.
I chatted with Motian at the Village Vanguard on June 21, when he played two sets in fine form with saxophonist Mark Turner. Adding up all of the bands he had led or joined onstage at the club, we reckoned he probably performed there more than any other person in the club's 76 years of operation. He was certainly a favorite of the Vanguard's owner, Lorraine Gordon, who sets high sonic standards for the club. She booked Motian and his bands several times a year.
Motian was certainly a favorite of WBGO's, and his legacy lives on in the hundreds of musicians, many of them half, or even a quarter, of his age, with whom he shared his wisdom.
We were fortunate over the years to present Motian's live performances many times, including the June show at the Vanguard, which you can see by clicking on the pane below or listen to here. You can also hear Motian on two other WBGO broadcasts from the Vanguard, with saxophonist Bill McHenry on June 8, 2009, and with Frisell and Lovano on September 3, 2008.
Thank you, Paul, and rest easy: your light and sound shine on!
© 2011 WBGO