Paul Motian Band: Garden of Eden

Bob Burnett: Paul Motian’s playing is motion. His approach to drums creates ceaseless movement but in the way a creek slowly cascades over rocks instead of two cats chasing each other over metal trashcans in an alleyway.

In this session he uses a band of three guitars, two tenors, bass and drums. Somehow all that personnel (Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby, tenor saxophones; Steve Cardenas, Ben Monder, and Jakob Bro, guitar; and Jerome Harris, electric bass) stay out of each other’s way, perform beautifully, and leave room for quiet, contemplative improvisation and interplay. All the while Motian stays in the back, enhancing the overall timbre and jelling the interplay.

I appreciate the roominess and imaging of this recording. The instrumentation comes across with great clarity. The guitars and saxophones are panned out widely in the mix and although at times somewhat similar in texture very complimentary to each other’s approach to the music. Plus the level of nuance achieved allows you as a listener to slowly unravel each player piece by piece, and joyously look forward to growing with the album over repeated listenings.

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