Paul Motian memorial at the Vanguard

I was honored to attend the Paul Motian memorial, which was organized by ECM records at the Village Vanguard on a cold Sunday afternoon in January. The first thing I noticed as I emerged into this holy room was a huge, vibrant picture of Paul that sat in front of the bandstand. From the first moment he dominated the proceedings, with his spirit, and with his absence. (more…)

honoring Paul Motian


10 years after I conceived the String Choir Project, a year after the cd was released, I  finally toured these arrangements of Paul Motian’s singular music for 11 days in Europe this Fall. It was on our 4th gig, in Malmo, Sweden, that we performed the music in the way I had always dreamed possible. We achieved an alchemical mixture of spontaneity, fine intonation, ensemble attunement, intimacy, playfulness, and gravitas in a perfect acoustic environment. Sorry to be sentimental, but I almost wept. It was a long time coming. (more…)

The Music of Paul Motian

String Choir

By John Kelman, All About Jazz

Joel Harrison has stretched the boundaries of form and freedom for over fifteen years, but Urban Myths (HighNote, 2009) and, in particular, the ambitious The Wheel(Innova, 2008), have represented significant evolutionary leaps. The Wheelmarried a conventional horn-led jazz quintet with a classical string quartet, its collection of Harrison originals pushing the limits of cross-pollination by eliminating all preconceived stylistic delineators. The Music of Paul Motian takes The Wheel‘s advancements a step further, focusing on Motian’s writing, rather than the textural and temporally implicit playing approach that has made him such an ongoing role model for generations of drummers. (more…)