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Paul Motian: Trio 2000 + One

A few seconds into the probing opener “From Time to Time,” pianist Masabumi Kikuchi starts moaning-mewling horribly, a la Keith Jarrett. And I’m cringing. Thankfully, Kikuchi only appears on three tracks here, including the ruminative solo piano piece “Last Call,” which carries all the dramatic sweep of “Amazing Grace” and comes dangerously close to Koln Concert territory.

Elsewhere, the great drummer/band leader showcases his compositional flair and mercurial touch on the kit in the company of upright bassist Larry Grenadier, electric bassist Steve Swallow and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. Motian’s Ornette-ish “Dance” features Potter stretching in particularly heroic fashion alongside Grenadier’s arco work, Swallow’s guitar-like lines and the drummer’s inimitable flowing pulse. They also combine for some spirited interplay on Motian’s splintered “One in Three.”

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