motian in motion - sound it out at greenwich house, nyc, jun 22

  • photography by Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

The celebration of the Sound It Out fifth-anniversary translates into four special benefit concerts whose ticket proceeds will go to help fund the Greenwich House Music School, where the concert series takes place. The initiative was conceived by Sound It Out founder and curator, Bradley Bambarger.

On Thursday, June 22, we’ve been at the cited school and indulge ourselves in Motian in Motion, the first of those four concerts set up in the form of tributes. As the title suggests, the event praised the music of the late drummer Paul Motian, a huge influence for jazz players of multiple generations.
18 incredible musicians have gathered to perform on a rotational basis in different band configurations, under the direction of alto saxophonist and bandleader Michael Attias, who picked 14 compositions by Motian from a favorite list suggested by his peers.

The illustrious performers were the following: saxophonists Michael Attias, Loren Stillman, Dan Blake, and Adam Kolker; trumpeter Ralph Alessi; guitarists André Matos and Ricardo Grilli; pianists Frank Kimbrough, Russ Lossing, and Jacob Sacks; bassists Sean Conly, Lim Yang, and Chris Lightcap; and drummers Vinnie Sperrazza, Harris Eisenstadt, Billy Mintz, Satoshi Takeishi, Jeff Davis, and Francisco Mela.

This celebration certainly had a special if nostalgic taste for many of them, particularly those who had the privilege to record/perform with Motian.

Here’s the list of tunes played:
- "It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago" (solo piano by Russ Lossing)
- "Mumbo Jumbo" (quintet with Attias, Alessi, Matos, Conly, and Mela)
- "The Sunflower" (quintet with Attias, Stillman, Lossing, Conly, and Takeishi)
- "Gang of Five" (quintet with Stillman, Kolker, Lossing, Yang, and Davis)
- "White Magic" (quartet with Matos, Grilli, Yang, Sperrazza)
- Yahllah (quintet with Kolker, Blake, Matos, Grilli, and Eisenstadt)
- "Conception Vessel" (solo piano by Frank Kimbrough)
- "Blue Midnight" (quintet with Stillman, Alessi, Kimbrough, Conly, and Mintz)
- "Abacus" (nonet with Kolker, Blake, Stillman, Attias, Alessi, Matos, Grilli, Lightcap, and Mintz)
- "Fantasm" (solo piano by Jacob Sacks)
- "Split Decision" (septet with Alessi, Stillman, Kolker, Grilli, Sacks, Lightcap, Mela)
- "In the Year of the Dragon" (quintet with Attias, Kolker, Blake, Lightcap, and Sperrazza)
- "Dance" (quintet with Attias, Alessi, Kimbrough, Lightcap, and Davis)
- "From Time to Time" (tentet with Attias, Alessi, Kolker, Stillman, Blake, Sacks, Matos, Grilli, Yang, and Takeishi) 

The zealous dedication of the musicians was quite noticeable, as well as their effort in wanting to honor Motian’s work with respect for what he wrote but according to their own points of view. That state of mind was translated into stunning individual and collective enunciations and allowed the propagation of Motian’s quirky moods with a beautiful, radiant energy.