Thursday, May 25, 2023

Paul Motian documentary

It took me awhile to get around to watching the Paul Motian documentary Motian In Motion— it's great, here it is if you haven't seen it: 

I liked this comment from Steve Swallow about his technique, compared to other drummers: “Paul just kinda picked up a stick and hit something.”


Michael Griener said...

Swallow's comment is hilarious.
Motian once played on my set, including my cymbals, in the early '90s when we played together one night at a festival.
After the show, Swallow thanked me because Paul had sounded so good, making it the best show of the tour.
Apparently he didn't just pick up a stick and hit something, but also didn't pay much attention to the tuning of the rental drums and carelessly grabbed some rental cymbals.
Not that Mr. Swallow couldn't describe exactly what drummers do.
Here is what he said about Pete LaRoca:
“The sticks Pete used were Pro-Mark Pee Wees. They had plastic tips, which made the attack of his cymbal sound very specific. Before Pete, I never tuned into a drummer’s right hand as clearly. His right hand was insistent. It had a beautiful, graceful motion. He played way back at the end of the stick and there was a wide arc to his stroke. I was getting lessons, visually as well as aurally, watching that wrist and long stick floating through the air and hitting that cymbal.
“The rest of his drums were tuned very musically and in the low-mid register: resonant and singing, with an 18-inch bass drum and a certain beater to give a very specific attack. He had such a beautiful groove. Pete said that he was playing as on top of the beat as reasonable, but I did not hear it that way. To my ears he was putting it in the perfect place, neither on top nor below, exactly where I wanted. When we put our quarter notes together it was a marriage made in heaven."
Makes me wonder which drummer he preferred himself to play with.....

Todd Bishop said...

That's awesome! That should be going on your blog, man!

That movie made me feel it kind of acutely that I'm not playing enough these days. I guess that's normal now, but gee whiz, I need to do more.

Reminds me of Ethan Iverson's story, Charlie Haden telling him “You were listening to Paul Motian? Never listen to Paul Motian!”