Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paul Motian - Last Words

File this one under the take-it-anyway-you-want: I was driving home from work last night a little before 6 p.m. I'm pretty sure the clock in the car said 5:53 when turned on the engine (recalled only because of my usual quandary of "do I bother to fish a CD out of my bag to listen to on the 10-minute drive home or just put the radio on....and what's on now?")

Paul Motian's name popped into my head, for no particular reason. A few months ago when Lee Konitz was interviewed in JazzTimes he alluded to the fact that Motian felt like he had said all he needed to say in interviews and that he didn't need to do anymore. Motian seemed like a bit of a curmudgeon, at least as far as interviewees go, too. Or at least he was a tough egg. So it got me wondering what I'd say to him if the chance ever arose for me to talk to ol' Paul. I thought about a Blindfold/Before & After test. Or just asking him, "How do you listen to music? Do you draw a conclusion on the first listen or do you give it several chances?" I suppose all of this came up because I wonder how many jazz musicians try to keep up with what all is out there - people who get buzz and people who deserve buzz. I wonder if his mailbox is flooded on a daily basis with CDs from people hoping to get his approval.

Of course as you already have concluded, or already know if you follow this music, Paul Motian died yesterday at the age of 80. Not only that, he died at 4:52 p.m., a mere 62 minutes or so before I started ruminating about him. Maybe it's a strange coincidence. Maybe his spirit reverberated across the stratosphere as it went on to the next place, and left me thinking about him. Maybe his parting words were, "Ain't gonna happen, man."

He was on original. Nobody played a kit like he did. Here's a good obituary on him if you want to read more.

No comments: