Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Motian, More Lovano

The Penguin Guide to Jazz, my jazz Bible, lists Paul Motian's Sound of Love as one of its "core collection" recordings. Most of my collecting over the last several years has been based on the Guide. Sound of Love is no disappointment. Joe Lovano plays tenor, and Bill Frissel strums his guitar. My apologies to cherished interlocutor Bass is Life.

It is interesting to note that the solo, duo, and trio, all occupy very distinct spaces in the jazz continuum. A soloist is engaged in a conversation with himself. He may conjure up a larger community of muscians, but it is all up to him. Only the piano makes it easy to fill up the space. Horn solos are almost inescapably lonely. Duos are conversations, but tend to be conversatons between soloists. Trios may or may not cross the line to ensembles, with a soloist supported by a field of feeling. Quartets and more are almost always group productions.

A trio of horn, guitar, and drums, unlike a piano trio, leaves a lot of space behind and around it. Like a duo, it is more three people than a band. Lovano dominates this disc, as one would expect. In a card game between a sax and a guitar, the guitar has no chance. But Frissel knows how to play his cards. When playing behind Lovano, he sounds like a bell choir. When he rises to the top, he still seems careful and very deliberate. The horn has to get out of the way, ofcourse, and with Motian playing it's like Frissel is dancing on coals.

This is fusionesque page four, but just over the line. If you like very thoughtful lines with a big hollow around them, this is your cup of tea. A couple of the cuts are Monk compositions. Here is a sample of one of them, to be usefully compared with a previous sample:
Paul Motian/Misterioso/Sound of Love
If you like it, buy the darn thing. Oh, and post a comment. I get lonely.


  1. I really enjoyed this. Motian and Frissel do a fantastic job with this. I was amazed at the playing of all three, but still found it quite approachable.

    And the open space allowed my brain to fill in the bass.

  2. Thanks, BIL!

    This recording was not to be missed. I too find myself filling in lines in music like this, though I don't play anything more sophisticated than a harmonica.