Listen Up: Paul Chambers and Paul Motian
As promised, trying to keep up with my new series of blog posts about suggested listenings/reviews. This segment features two amazing artists who rarely get their credit for being band leaders: bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Paul Motian.
The former, most famous for playing with John Coltrane, released an incredible album titled 'Whims of Chambers'. The albums features: Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Horace Silver, and Philly Joe Jones. If that isn't enough incentive to go out and buy the record, I don't know what I can say to help you. Horace Silver and Kenny Burrell work remarkably well together, managing their comping by staying out of each others way. Burrell's guitar tone matches perfectly with Chambers bass on the blues this album is named after. I'm impressed with Chambers bass prowess. He sounds more prominent on this recording than on Miles Davis or Coltrane records. As it should, Chambers' bass takes the limelight of this entire recording, shining brightly through each track. With this recording, Chambers puts the bass on the map as a melodic instrument and paving the way for future bassists like Niels Henning-Orsted Pedersen. As far as albums with all original tunes, recorded in the latter part of the 1950's, this album shines brightly against them all.
Another original voice, Paul Motian, recorded an album entitled 'Garden of Eden' in 2004; which was released in 2006. The album features an interesting lineup of two saxophones, two (or three) guitars, a bassist and drummer. It's difficult to sense how many guitarists play on each track, because of the layered texture of each piece, but it features: Steve Cardenas, Jakob Bro, and the incredible Ben Monder. Motian creates an incredible sound palette with this instrumentation without having a frontman as traditional jazz ensembles can tend to have. Guitars and saxophones intertwine creating a seamless melodic line, while bassist Jerome Harris lays an expansive foundation of deep bass. There is a high level of reverence amongst these musicians as they play only what is absolutely necessary for a given piece. Motian is nothing but flawless on everything I have heard him play on and this recording is nothing short of flawless. However, it is not his drumming prowess that takes the limelight - it is the overall compositional texture that keeps you guessing at every turn. It is a beautiful album I highly recommend; along with Motian's recording with Bill Frisell and Ron Carter.
This will be a short post as it has been a busy week of practicing, tune memorization, and amplifier issues that have really worn me out. Watch out for another post in the next day or two about current projects and school.
Thanks for reading! Keep listening!