Certain musicians don't seem to be a person playing music, but to actually be music themselves. When I heard Paul Motian had passed away I went not to his classic recordings with the Bill Evans Trio, but to the trio album Storyteller (2004) with Marilyn Crispell and Mark Helias, and Motian's tune "Flight of the Bluejay." His drums speak a language of their own on that record, speak to something so ineffable and deep. Outside form, outside rhythm, outside expectation. When Motian struck that ride cymbal it wasn't about jazz, or even music; it was enormous and yet self-contained, expansive and yet utterly simple.
Motian was a musician who embodied authority as much as he did mystery and ambiguity. And a little mystery is a powerful, powerful thing.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts