Motian, (Stephen) Paul

views updated

Motian, (Stephen) Paul

Motian, (Stephen) Paul, jazz drummer, composer; b. Philadelphia, Pa., March 25, 1931. He started out as a Max Roach disciple, keeping straight time on his early recordings but soon developed a way of leaving space and creating a loose, shimmering sense of time. He began recording in the mid 1950s with Lennie Tristano, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Stan Getz, Gil Evans, and George Russell. He worked with Bob Dorough and Miles Davis before joining Bill Evans in 1959. He and Evans worked and recorded with Don Elliott, Tony Scott and others; in late 1958, they decided to work as a trio after a stint at Basin St. East, but they didn’t find steady work until late 1959, when they played at the Sutherland Lounge in Chicago and an extended engagement in Greenwich Village. They first recorded together with Tony Scott in late October 1959. Motian left the trio in 1963 to play with Paul Bley and many others before joining Keith Jarrett for two long stretches (1966–69 and 1971–75); in 1968, he appeared on the Boston TV show Mixed Bag with the Charles Lloyd Quartet and Jarrett. Motian was part of the Jazz Composers Orch. Association and worked in Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orch. as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, he led small combos, worked in solo and trio situations, and reunited with Paul Bley on two late-1980s releases. From 1987 through the early 1990s, he led a trio with Joe Lo vano and Bill Frissell.


Conception Vessel (1972); Tribute (1974); Dance (1977); Le Voyage (1979); Psalm (1981); Misterioso (1983); Story of Maryam (1984); Jack of Clubs (1984); It Should Have Happened Long Ago (1984); Circle the Line (1986); One Time Out (1987); Paul Motian on Broadway, Vol. 1 (1988); Monk in Motian (1988); Paul Motian on Broadway, Vol. 2 (1989); Bill Evans: Tribute to the Great Piano Player (1990); On Broadway, Vol.3 (1991); Paul Motian & The Electric Bebop (1992); Motian in Tokyo (1992). B. Evans: Portrait in Jazz (1959). B. Brookmeyer: Jazz Is a Kick (1960); Explorations (1961). P. Bley: Turning Point (1964).

—Lewis Porter