Paul Motian – Tribute (1975)

Paul Motian - Tribute (1975)
Artist: Paul Motian
Album: Tribute
Label: ECM Records
Year Of Release: 1975
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

1. Victoria 5:25
2. Tuesday Ends Saturday 6:38
3. War Orphans 7:27
4. Sod House 9:51
5. Song For Ché 8:33


Paul Motian, Percussion
Carlos Ward, Alto Saxophone
Sam Brown, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Paul Metzke, Electric Guitar
Charlie Haden, Bass

This is the drummers second outing as leader for ECM and the follow up to the acclaimed Conceptual Vessel, and has stood the test of time well proving to be the more adventuress of the two albums. Tribute retains the services of Charlie Haden and guitarist Sam Brown from the earlier record, and adds to the line up a second guitar in Paul Metzke along with Carlos Ward on alto saxophone. At first glance the use of two guitars seemed somewhat unorthodox, and an experiment that the drummer was to repeat some years later with his Electric Be Bop Band. We should also note that his affinity with guitarists has been well documented in his work with the Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano on tenor.

This relationship with the twinned guitars of Brown and Metzke bursts forth on ‘Tuesday Ends Saturday’, and Motian is more explicit in the way he marks time and emphasises the beat. The heart of the album finds the drummer in a more lyrical and exploratory mode, coaxing and cajoling things along on a superb version of Ornette Coleman’s ‘War Orphans’ and opens up the way for some incredible interplay between the guitarists and magisterial playing from Charlie Haden. The set concludes with the sublime reading of Haden’s ‘Song For Ché’ in which the guitars, bass and percussion all find a way bring forth maximum expression of the composition, yet leaving so much space which becomes breath taking and integral to the performance.

With the main action taking place within the quartet, saxophonist Ward appears to be left on the bench appearing on only two numbers. His plangent tone on alto is heard on the opening ‘Victoria’ and taking a more central role and more expansive solo on another Motian composition, ‘Sod House’. Both solid performances, but side-lined by the exciting and developing relationships being forged elsewhere within the music.

What marks Tribute out as such an important reissue is that it showcases so many of Motian’s strengths, both as a composer and band leader, while not overshadowing or diluting the quality of the music. In fact, quite the opposite, making an important and early statement and laying sowing the seeds for the future.

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