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World Music CD Reviews North American

Paul Motian Trio 2000 + Two

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published October 30, 2008

Live At The Village Vanguard: Vol. II
Winter & Winter

In Bill Evans’s classic early-‘60s trio, Paul Motian was a rock, laying down an anchor for the wanderings of the piano genius and the great, long-gone bassist Scott LaFaro. But that was a lifetime ago, and the Paul Motian of today is a fearless wanderer himself. This second volume (recorded at the venerable New York club in 2006) is, like its predecessor, largely a free-for-all. Motian’s sense of rhythm remains unfaltering, but where he goes with it doesn’t necessarily follow the same path that his fellow musicians take—and that’s the idea. Spatial and random, unpredictable and edgy, there’s nothing constrained about this album. Chris Potter (tenor saxophone), Greg Osby (alto sax), Masabumi Kikuchi (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Mat Manieri (viola) are all gifted players, and Motian grants each of them the autonomy to find his own place. If that place happens to diverge from a center – the fact that the fragmented pieces somehow add up to a whole is what ultimately makes the album such a rewarding listen.