Drummer Paul Motian dies at 80


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Paul Motian, a beautifully subtle, versatile drummer who recorded with a wealth of jazz artists over his long career, died early Tuesday in New York City. He was 80.

The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone-marrow disorder, his friend Carole d’Inverno Frisell told the New York Times.


First rising to prominence as a member of Bill Evans’ trio on landmark recordings such as ‘Waltz for Debby’ and ‘Sunday at the Village Vanguard,’ Motian also enjoyed long partnerships with Keith Jarrett, Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden on top of a long, rich career as a bandleader that began with ‘Conception Vessel’ in 1972.

In recent years, Motian showed little signs of slowing down, with 2011 yielding albums with saxophonist Bill McHenry and a recording from a generation-spanning 2009 show with Brad Mehldau, Haden and Lee Konitz, ‘Live at Birdland.’

Needless to say, there are a wealth of recordings available online to remember Motian. After the jump, a video of the drumming great performing at a festival date in 1995 with Konitz, Joe Lovano, Frisell and Marc Johnson.


Saxophonist Miguel Zenon mines the Puerto Rican songbook

Album review: Christian McBride’s ‘Conversations With Christian’


Album review: Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Paul Motian and Charlie Haden: ‘Live at Birdland’

-- Chris Barton