Posted by: theatrociousspeller | November 23, 2011

Paul Motian

So guess what I woke up to this morning…BLAH


In honor of his passing here are three of my favorite records he has played on, and a transciption of one of his tunes

Bill Evans Trio – Sunday at the Village Vanguard: No shit right. When I first started playing “Jazz,” I really disliked guitar players. So much in fact, that my face would put on this pretentious scowl everytime I went to the library and I saw a record with a guitarist playing on a pianist record. “What the fuck are you doing Bill, who is this Jim Hall guy, why would you play with a talent-less hack like him, and who would name their kid Jim?” High school was a weird time, and fortunately for me, I got the hell out of that mindset pretty quickly, (thank you Django/Jim Hall). This was the 2nd Evans CD I picked up, (the first being Explorations) and I was sold. I feel the most important thing about this record is not only the interaction, but the roles each member of the trio play. There has been sooo much writing on this subject I’m not even going to go into it  but Paul….you melt me. Soft, Sincere, Brilliant. Hits include: Alice and Wonderland and All Of You.

Paul Motian – Garden of Eden: So, what are you going to do if you hire Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby on the same record date? How are you going to top that? Easy, hire three guitarist….WHAT! This album features Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, and Jakob Bro playing guitars…at the same time. It sounds like a guitarist wet dream, but it’s more like one of those romantic porno films instead of the over the top sexual romps with a male/female crush from high school. They play off each other super well, they take turns comping, and when they don’t, (specifically Etude which will be featured at the bottom of this page) it creates this pillow of sound that would make some clouds even weep with envy. Obviously everyone slays on the record, and features not one, but seven compositions of Motian’s. His playing on this record is in that “get whatever drum you want, and hit it in…time?” AND IT’S SOOO GOOOD. This record deserves to be heard on some nice headphones while walking in a downtown area, Slightly cloudy. Hits include: Etude, Mesmer,Pithecanthropus Erectus.

Bill McHenry – Roses: You have no idea, how lucky I am, and it is because of this record. I spent a few months in Connecticut a yearish ago, and I would head down to the Westport library almost everyday to fill out job applications, write some emails, and finally to check out some CDs/Books. Once a week, if there were any records in the “Jazz” bins that I hadn’t heard, (especially artist that I had no idea about) I would pick up two CDs and give a week of intensive listening to said records. Obviously, some weeks were pretty terrible BUT, one week I came across two records that made it worth it: Ben Goldberg’s The Door, The Hat, The Chair, The Fact, and Bill McHenry’s Roses. Paul slays on this record, as does everyone else. The tunes are beautiful, they all play perfectly together, and Reid Anderson is super attractive, what else do you want? I’ve posted about this record before, so i’m not going to go into it again, but: Don’t Sleep Any More. Hits include: African Song, Keys of C, Roses, The whole fucking record.

One of my favorite Motian compositions is Etude. He recorded it a handful of times with Bill Frisell, Geri Allen, Stephan Oliva amoung others, but I feel the recording on Garden of Eden really takes the cake. Listen to a recording (since I can’t load a tiny clip thanks to ECM): Paul Motian – Etude

Lead Sheet

And if you’ve made it this far: Paul on his favorite drummer



  1. Hey man, great blog, thanks for the paul motian transcription! Have you heard the version on his record “Fantasm” ? I’m downloaded it now, just curious what it sounds like in comparison to the garden of eden version. As far as I know, Fantasm is the only other recorded version. Good stuff man!

    • Hey Matt, thanks a bunch. I have heard that version and it’s really wonderful. The Geri Allen album Etudes with Paul and I want to say Charlie Haden has 2 versions of it, There is also a recording with Bill Frisell playing it solo. It’s kinda sick. Thanks for checking it out man.

  2. Yeah beautiful tune. Every recording is haunting in a different way.

  3. […] listen, but to also look at his things, like THIS and THIS and THIS. shareTHISshare:StumbleUponFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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