Pianist Geri Allen, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, is the recipient the first “Lady of Soul” Award, the European “Jazz Par Prize,” and Spellman College’s “African American Classical Music Award.” A Motema recording artist since 2010, Ms. Allen has made close to 20 albums as a leader and performed with many jazz icons such as Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Dewey Redman, Oliver Lake, Betty Carter, Reggie Workman, Lee Konitz, and Marian McPartland. Her sublime rapport with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian is documented on several trio albums.
Reid Anderson is a bassist and composer best known as one-third of The Bad Plus with pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King. He performed with Paul Motian both as a member of the Bill McHenry Quartet and in trio with Iverson. He appears with Motian on the Bill McHenry recordings Roses and Featuring Paul Motian.
Joey Baron, born in 1955 in Richmond, Virginia, started playing at age 9. Over the years, he has developed a unique approach to making music with the drum set, evident in his extended tenures with jazz icons Jim Hall, Steve Kuhn, Bill Frisell, and John Abercrombie. Presently, Mr. Baron’s activities include solo concerts, workshops, master classes, drum music collaborations with percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky (Dinosaur Dances), plus ongoing projects with John Zorn, duo concerts with Lee Konitz, and the “Sound Prints Quintet” co-led by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas.
Saxophonist/composer Tim Berne, born in Syracuse in 1954, has been performing his music worldwide since 1981. Tim has recorded his music for many labels including his own Screwgun imprint and most recently with his Snakeoil band for ECM. In recent years, Tim has been performing with David Torn, Michael Formanek, Ches Smith, Matt Mitchell, Oscar Noriega, Marc Ducret, Drew Gress, Craig Taborn, and many others. Future plans include joining ARP, watching as much basketball as possible and retiring from music to focus more on bodysurfing.
Guitarist Jakob Bro, born in 1978 in Denmark, joined Paul Motian & the Electric Bebop Band in 2002. Up until 2006 he toured with the band in Europe and played concerts both at the Chivas Jazz Festival in Brazil and at the Village Vanguard in New York. He is featured on Paul Motian’s ECM release Garden of Eden (2006). In 2006 Bro began recording a series of records with Motian on drums: Pearl River (2007), The Stars are All New Songs (2008) and Balladeering (2009). A movie documentary, Weightless, was shot during the making of Balladeering with Motian as a key figure.
Steve Cardenas began his musical career in Kansas City and has been an integral part of the New York City jazz community since 1995. He has toured and recorded extensively, including with such legendary artists as Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, and Steve Swallow. Steve was a longstanding member of the Paul Motian Electric Bebop Band, which later became the Paul Motian Octet. He also leads his own trio and has several recordings as a leader. Additionally, Steve is on faculty at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music as well as co-author, with editor Don Sickler, of the Thelonious Monk Fakebook.
Originally from St. Louis, MO, saxophonist Chris Cheek first joined Paul’s Electric Bebop Band for the recording Reincarnation of a Lovebird. He performed with the group in China, Russia, Brazil, throughout much of Europe, and at Birdland, Sweet Basil, and the Village Vanguard in New York City. Cheek also played on the band’s recordings Flight of the Blue Jay, Bud and Monk, Europe, and Garden of Eden.
Ravi Coltrane is a critically acclaimed Grammy-nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. In the course of a twenty plus year career, Mr. Coltrane has worked as a sideman to many recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others, overseen important jazz reissues, and founded an independent record label, RKM. Born in Long Island, the second son of John and Alice Coltrane, Ravi was named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Spirit Fiction, his latest of six albums as a leader, was released in June for the Blue Note label. “I feel honored to be able to play on this tribute to one of the legends of this music, Paul Motian.”
Pianist Marilyn Crispell has been a composer and performer of contemporary improvised music since 1978. For ten years she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble. She performed and recorded extensively as a soloist as well as with players on the American and international jazz scene, also working with dancers, poets, film-makers, and visual artists, and teaching workshops in improvisation. She has been the recipient of three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust composition commission. Paul Motian appears on three of the six albums she has recorded for ECM.
Brooklyn-born drummer Andrew Cyrille studied at the Juilliard and Hartnett Schools of Music and soon began playing with legends like Mary Lou Williams and Coleman Hawkins. In 1964, he formed an 11-year association with pianist Cecil Taylor, establishing himself as one of the most instinctively, musically, and inventive drummers of the era, while also performing with Richard Muhal Abrams, John Carter, Walt Dickerson, and David Murray. A co-leader of the longstanding Trio 3 with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman, Cyrille has also been a frequent collaborator of dance companies and organizer of various percussion ensembles. His own groups have included Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Marilyn Crispell, Geri Allen, Richard Teitelbaum, Irene Schweizer, Henry Grimes, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Anthony Braxton, Greg Osby, and Jason Moran, among others.
For saxophonist Billy Drewes, a segment of life is wonderfully coming full circle. Early on in his musical life he was inspired by many artists who were creating a path that would enable the beautiful journey of music to flourish. Paul Motian was among those musicians. In the 1980’s Billy toured and recorded with Paul’s band which created a link to many new musical endeavors. Now he is honored to be part of the next chapter but not the final one for Paul.
Claudia Engelhart has been a professional live-sound engineer for over 30 years. Since 1989 Claudia has been working with guitarist Bill Frisell. She has mixed and recorded almost all of his live concerts during that time. When not on tour with Frisell, Claudia has toured extensively with such artists as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Dave Holland, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash, Ryuichi Sakamoto, John Zorn, The Kronos Quartet, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, Eddie Palmieri, Airto Moreira, and many others.
Described as being “at the very epicenter of modern American music” (BBC), Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 35 years and over 250 recordings, including 40 albums of his own. Outstanding from his countless collaborations with a wide range of artists, filmmakers, and legendary musicians are his special affinity with Paul Motian and the music they have created together over three decades. Frisell’s latest album, Silent Comedy, is a totally improvised and sonically daring solo guitar record released in February 2013 on Tzadik. Recognized as one of America’s most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell was named an inaugural 2012 Doris Duke Artist.
Larry Grenadier was born in San Francisco 47 years ago. He took up the bass 35 years ago. He heard Paul Motian for the first time 34 years ago on records with Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. Larry played with Paul for the first time almost 17 years ago on a record with Larry Goldings. Since then they played many gigs together and recorded quite a few records. Larry will always cherish the music he made with Paul Motian.
One of the triplet daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Petra Haden has been singing and playing violin with some of the biggest names in alternative, jazz, and rock, demonstrating a great talent for finding unique timbres and recreating with her own voice the sounds of the instruments she loves. She sings on Paul Motian’s final album, The Windmills of Your Mind, recorded in 2011 to celebrate his 80th birthday. Recalling Motian’s On Broadway recordings, it features jazz and pop standards and bassist Thomas Morgan and guitarist Bill Frisell with whom she made the 2003 duo album, Petra Haden & Bill Frisell. Petra lives in Los Angeles where she is currently working with her sisters on a Haden Triplets album of classic country songs.
Jerome Harris’s first major performing experience came as bass guitarist with Sonny Rollins in 1978; from 1988 to 1994 he played guitar with Rollins, and has recorded and/or performed live with Jack DeJohnette, Bobby Previte, Oliver Lake, Ray Anderson, Bob Stewart, Julius Hemphill, Amina Claudine Myers, Ned Rothenberg, David Krakauer, and many others. Harris first met Paul Motian in 1984 during the recording of Bill Frisell’s album Rambler. During the mid-1990s, Harris became the NYC-area bassist for Motian’s Electric Bebop Band at the suggestion of founding bassist Steve Swallow. Jerome Harris deeply cherishes his time making music with Paul Motian.
Billy Hart, born in 1940 in Washington, DC, is one of the most respected living jazz drummers. Among many others, he has toured and recorded with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Harris, Charles Lloyd, Shirley Horn, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, John Handy, Larry Corryell, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Mike Brecker, and Don Byron. His current quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street records for ECM. Also a dedicated music professor, Billy Hart teaches at Oberlin College, the New England Conservatory, and at Western Michigan University.
Pianist Ethan Iverson is best known as one-third of The Bad Plus. In the last decade he played with Paul Motian in trios alongside Reid Anderson, Larry Grenadier, and Charlie Haden. He has been a member of the Billy Hart Quartet since 2006 and appears on the group’s recent ECM release, All Our Reasons. Iverson contributed an extensive essay to the forthcoming ECM reissue box of Motian’s first six albums as a leader.
Josh Jackson, host of The Checkout, is WBGO’s Special Projects Producer. He hosts coverage of the Newport Jazz Festival and produces The Checkout: Live series at 92Y Tribeca and Berklee College of Music, as well as the multimedia concert series Live at the Village Vanguard, a partnership between WBGO and NPR Music. Josh is the co-founder of Joyride Media, a regular contributor to NPR Music, and a two-time recipient of the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting.
Born in 1939 in Tokyo, pianist Masabumi Kikuchi played with Lionel Hampton when he was still a teenager, then Sonny Rollins and Charlie Mariano before going to the Berklee School of Music where he studied with Herb Pomeroy. He returned to Japan to perform with the Sadao Watanabe Quartet, formed his own quintet and began playing with Gary Peacock, Charles Mingus, and Elvin Jones. In 1975 he moved to New York where Gil Evans became his mentor. Recordings followed with Peacock and another mentor and good friend, Paul Motian. This trio became Tethered Moon and released several albums. Kikuchi recorded an album called Sunrise with Thomas Morgan and Paul Motian for ECM which was released in 2012.
David King is an American drummer/composer most known as a founding member of jazz group The Bad Plus. He is also a member and founder of the jazz group Happy Apple and the leader/ founder of The Dave King Trucking Co. and The Dave King Trio, both of which record for Sunnyside Records in NYC. He is also a member of Craig Taborn’s Junk Magic Band as well as Tim Bern’s Buffalo Collision. A devoted Paul Motian fan, King cites him regularly as his biggest influence as a musician.
Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano stands alone at the vanguard of large and small group jazz. From his Grammy-nominated work with the WDR Big Band & Rundfunk Orchestra, Symphonica, to his role as Gary Burton Chair of Jazz Performance at Berklee College of Music, the Cleveland native fearlessly challenges and pushes the conceptual and thematic choices he makes in a quest for new modes of artistic expression and new takes on what defines the jazz idiom. 2010 was the year of double trifectas for Lovano, winning awards for Tenor Saxophonist, Small Ensemble, and Record of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association and awards for Jazz Artist, Jazz Group, and Jazz Saxophonist of the Year from Down Beat Magazine, while 2011 brought the highly adorned and Grammy-nominated Bird Songs from Joe Lovano Us Five. He has released 23 celebrated albums on the Blue Note label including this year’s critically acclaimed Cross Culture.
Saxophonist Bill McHenry played regularly with Paul Motian for ten years, as a sideman and a leader, all at the Village Vanguard, as well as recording three albums: Featuring Paul Motian, Roses, and Ghosts of the Sun, with his own quartet including Ben Monder and Reid Anderson. As a sideman with Paul he also performed with Charlie Haden, Masabumi Kikuchi, Larry Grenadier, Rebecca Martin, and Paul’s octet with Steve Cardenas, Ben Monder, Jerome Harris, Jacob Sacks, Thomas Morgan, Mat Maneri, and Chris Cheek. He now leads a group with pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis, and Andrew Cyrille, and is a member if Guilermo Klein’s Guachos and Andrew D’Angelo DNA Orchestra.
Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of composed and improvised music. He leads a trio with Chris Tordini and Dan Weiss, plays in a duo with Ches Smith, and plays in the duo Fourth Floor with Dan Weiss. He is a member of Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, the Darius Jones Quartet, and Michael Attias’ Spun Tree. He is a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
Based in New York for 25 years, guitarist Ben Monder has performed with a variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, George Garzone, and Maria Schneider. He performed with Paul Motian in his Octet, a quartet led by the saxophonist Bill McHenry, and most recently in a trio with the saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh. Ben continues to perform original music internationally with his own quartet, trio, and in a duo project with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He has appeared on over 150 CDs as a sideman, and has released 4 as a leader: Oceana, Excavation, Dust, and Flux. A new recording, entitled Hydra, will be released this year.
Recording artist, saxophonist, composer, and educator Greg Osby has recorded and toured with such diverse artists as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall and the Grateful Dead. Mr. Osby is a recent recipient of the PEW Fellowship, the Doris Duke Foundation Award for Composers, and is a four time winner of the prestigious Jazz Journalists Award. Osby was a Blue Note records recording artist from 1989 to 2005 and has since founded his own imprint, Inner Circle Music. He has earned numerous awards, and critical acclaim for his recorded works and exciting live performances.
Gary Peacock’s groundbreaking work in the bands of such innovators as Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Paul Bley (with Paul Motian on drums), Albert Ayler, and many others has served as an inspiration for several generations of jazz bass players not content with the traditional bassist’s role of simple time-keeping and harmonic accompaniment. For the past three decades, he has been a member of the heralded Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette Trio, one of the longest standing groups in jazz history, initially coming together in 1977 for the recording of Tales of Another, Peacock’s debut album for ECM Records. In 1983, upon the first Standards session, it became a permanent band often called the Standards Trio, recording a total of 20 albums for ECM to date.
Since picking up the acoustic bass at age 15, Ed Schuller’s musical path has taken him to record 135 LPs and CDs as a sideman and seven as a leader of his own bands, including extensive touring and recording under Paul Motian’s leadership (Psalm, Story of Mariam, Jack of Clubs and Misterioso). Other recordings with Paul include Schuller’s Mu Point (featuring Dewey Redman) and Circle the Line, Russ Lossing’s Dreamer and As It Grows, Anat Fort’s A Long Story, and Serendipity, a live recording with Joe Lovano and Paul Motian.
Bassist Ben Street studied at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Miroslav Vitous and Dave Holland. He has performed and/or recorded with Danilo Perez, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Roswell Rudd, Lee Konitz, John Scofield, David Sanchez, James Moody, Andrew Cyrille, Mark Turner, Frank Foster, David Virelles, Clark Terry, Junior Cook, Charles Davis, Sam Rivers, Roman Diaz, Clifford Jordan, Billy Harper, Paul Motian, Billy Hart, Buddy Montgomery, Jimmy Scott, Ben Monder, Edward Simon, Anthony Coleman, Chris Cheek, and others. A member of the Billy Hart Quartet since 2006, he can be heard on the group’s recent ECM release All Our Reasons.
Saxophonist Mark Turner hails from Los Angeles, studied at Berklee College of Music, and lives in New York. He has performed and recorded with Paul Motian, Billy Hart, Dave Holland, John Pattitucci, Buster Williams, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Tom Harrell, Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Albert (Tootie) Heath, Gary Bartz, Jimmy Cobb, Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Mehldau, Dave Binney, Adam Rogers, Edward Simon, Robert Glasper, Joshua Redman, among others. He has recorded five albums as a leader and appears on over 90 other recordings, including the recent All Our Reasons by the Billy Hart Quartet on ECM. He’s been in the collective trio FLY with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard for over eight years.
Hans Wendl is a Bay Area based music producer and artist manager. His record productions with artists such as Charlie Haden, Peter Apfelbaum, Don Byron, Bill Frisell, Tin Hat Trio, Ron Miles, and others have received six Grammy nominations and a Grammy Award for Ravi Shankar’s Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000. His friendship with Paul Motian began in 1973 when he was 19 and a roadie for the Keith Jarrett Quintet and intern at ECM Records in his hometown of Munich. He worked for the renowned German label for twelve years before moving to the US in 1985.
Drummer Matt Wilson’s approach to playing a song, composing and band leading has been heavily influenced by the swing, creativity, spirit, humor, clarity, and honesty of Paul Motian. Matt would like to express his gratitude for the profound inspiration Mr. Motian offered to him and the world during his time with us on the planet.