Fred Settenberg’s piece on Paul Motian intrigues me.  Although I don’t always enjoy writing so powerfully aware of its own power, Settenberg’s piece — just posted a day ago — moves me.  It feels candid, adult, a little wry: and the love for Motian’s music and what it implied, the dreams that great art leads us into, is fully realized.

It’s worth reading for sure: Motian

But I know that Paul Motian was — in his own quiet, amused, compelling way — a man too large to be encompassed by just one piece of writing.  So here is the photographer John Rogers’ tribute to Motian as loving mentor and guide to the big city — a piece I haven’t been able to get out of my system since I first read it:

Dinners and Drum Music

I wish I could require my students to read these two beautiful evocations side-by-side: Settenberg imagining an ideal future in the sound of recorded jazz; Rogers finding his way with Motian at his side.  How very different, how moving, and how true!


  1. Hey Jazzlives,
    I take your point, I look at an write-up in a journal a couple decades back (it might possibly have been Downbeat) that had a attribute on Paul Motian. In the write-up, he says he and Scott LaFaro performed a few gigs with Thelonious Monk. I was thinking if people else has at any time heard of this, and if so, do any recordings (bootlegs) exist?
    Nice One!

  2. Hey Winterfest,
    Motian played with Monk for a week in Boston back in 1960 — he replaced Elvin Jones who had gotten himself into some kind of hanky panky. There aren’t official recordings, though always a hope that a bootleg will turn up somewhere, someday. I’ve never heard/read that Scott LaFaro was part of the gig — but if true, wow, it must have been something.

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