Legendary jazz drummer Paul Motian died today at the age of 80. In the late ’50s, Motian, pianist Bill Evans, and bassist Scott LaFaro, fundamentally changed the very concept of the piano trio.
His style was restrained yet experimental. He was an integral part of Keith Jarrett’s (I think) best band, the ’70s quartet with Dewey Redman on wind instruments and Charlie Haden on bass. Check out this amazing live footage from 1973 recorded in Berlin.
Though he had several bands of his own in the past few years, my favorite stuff he’d done recently was with pianist Bobo Stenson. Maybe because it reminds me a bit of what he had done with Evans so long ago, only more expansive and contemplative.
Motian had a long, varied and amazing career in jazz and kept playing right up til the end. We’ll miss your beautiful music here on Earth, brother. Now go share it with the cosmos.