Paul Motian

Flight of the Blue Jay

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During the 20 years that preceded this set, Paul Motian had led some of the most intriguing jazz groups around. For this project, his "Electric Bebop Band" consists of two tenors (Chris Potter and Chris Cheek), two guitars (Kurt Rosenwinkel and Brad Schoeppach), bassist Steve Swallow, and the leader himself on drums. With the exception of Motian's opening selection and a pair of originals by Rosenwinkel, the repertoire consists of three songs by Thelonious Monk and one tune apiece from Bud Powell, Miles Davis, George Shearing, Charlie Parker, and Rodgers & Hart. Essentially a straight-ahead bebop date, the most unusual aspect of the set (which unfortunately has no liner notes, so individual soloists are not identified) is that there are many sections where two different players solo together. Usually it is the two tenors or both of the guitarists, but occasionally it's a tenor and a guitarist. Everyone plays well, but nothing really that unexpected occurs. The songs are superior; the highlights include Powell's "Celia," a medium-slow "Blue Room," "Milestones" (the 1947 song), and Monk's "Work." But overall, this date falls short of being memorable.

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