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RIP Paul Motian: 1931-2011

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Paul Motian Drummer Paul Motian passed away, in a New York City hospital, early this morning. The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, according to Motian's niece, Cindy McGuirl. This is the same rare blood and bone-marrow disorder that took the life of saxophonist Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
1949 - 2007
sax, tenor
nearly five years ago, in early 2007.

Emerging first as a member of pianist Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
' groundbreaking trio in the mid-1950s, Motian went on to become an innovator in his own right, creating a style of drumming that was as much about implication and suggestion as it was overt pulse and groove. Texture and color were paramount from a drummer who, in addition to recording in groups like pianist Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
's vastly influential American Quartet of the 1970s, with bassist Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
1937 - 2014
bass, acoustic
and saxophonist Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
b.1931
sax, tenor
, went on to create his own vast discography.

His Electric Bebop Band was a nurturing place for emerging talent like Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
b.1970
guitar
, Ben Monder
Ben Monder
Ben Monder
b.1962
guitar
and Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
, but it was his enduring trio with guitarist Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
and saxophonist Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
that broke the most ground and became his definitive touchstone, as he explored repertoire ranging from standards from The Great American Songbook to original compositions rooted in both the jazz tradition and his Armenian background.

Recent recordings include Lost in a Dream (ECM, 2010), with a new trio featuring Chris Potter and Jason Moran
Jason Moran
Jason Moran
b.1975
piano
, and the all-star Live at Birdland (ECM, 2011), with Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
and Charlie Haden, but the breadth and depth of Motian's entire discography ensures an enduring legacy that cannot be forgotten.

He will be deeply missed.
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