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Drummer Paul Motian died in New York City in 2011, on the 48th anniversary of John Kennedy’s assassination. He carried one cymbal around with him for the last 30 of his 80 years on Earth, and up to his end he documented, so much as possible, the of-course infinite number of sounds between the “zero” of silence and the “one” of a full-armed smash, wrought-able out of that single molded metal piece. Same with the rest of his kit. In rock, and sometimes even in jazz, drummers feel the need to be brawlers. Motian never minded that hype. He wanted the world to hear him, but he explored inner space, unplumbed potentials.

Motian and bassist Eddie Gomez actually backed up pianist Bill Evans, so their signing on to an Evans tribute comes as no surprise. Chick Corea on keys, though, shows everyone what to do with a tribute — honoring Evans’s spirit and his compositions but demonstrating not a whit of dry stiffness or rote duty. Corea rushes in where Evans would’ve hung back, awaiting transcendence the way a sand castle waits to be transformed by a tide. But that’s Corea’s recipe for transcendence, even while cooking with Evans’s ingredients. Eddie Gomez bides his time, waiting for you to listen over and over, but he jumps to the forefront with some arco, early on disc 2, which never fails to make me happy to be alive. Listen for yourself and decide if that’s enough, or more than enough.

  • Album: Further Explorations
  • Artists: Chick Corea/Eddie Gomez/Paul Motian
  • Label: Concord Jazz
  • Songs: Disc 1: (1) Peri’s Scope (2) Gloria’s Step (3) They Say That Falling In Love Is Wonderful (4) Alice In Wonderland (5) Song No. 1 (6) Diane (7) Off The Cuff (8) Laurie (9) Bill Evans (10) Little Rootie Tootie; Disc 2: (1) Hot House (2) Mode VI (3) Another Tango (4) Turn Out The Stars (5) Rhapsody (6) Very Early (7) But Beautiful — Part 1 (8) But Beautiful — Part 2 (9) Puccini’s Walk
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