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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

PAUL MOTIAN TRIO

By Michael Stone
Published September 27, 2005

I Have The Room Above Her
ECM

After working with a distinguished roll call of jazz originals (Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Mose Allison, Paul Bley, Charles Lloyd, Dewey Redman, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden), drummer Paul Motian debuted as a session leader on ECM in the early 1970s. By 1981 he had enlisted tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell, introducing them to the jazz world. I Have The Room Above Her marks their reunion and Motian’s return to ECM after nearly two decades. The musical effects of the hiatus are imperceptible; it’s a testimony to these players’ seasoned talents how fluidly they engage one another on an airy collection of mostly Motian originals. The absence of piano and bass makes for a challenging trio formation, but their distinctive individual signatures converge and resonate, opening a vast iridescent space for the ebb and flow coursing through the repertoire’s many tributaries. Their extraordinary ensemble sound (no grandstanding here) envelops the title track—the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein standard from the film rendition of the musical Showboat—and Monk’s “Dreamland” in the same recuperative sonic ether.