Paul Motian

Stephen Paul Motian (25 March 1931 – 22 November 2011) was an American jazz drummer, percussionist and composer of Armenian extraction. He first came to prominence in the late 1950s in the piano trio of Bill Evans, and later led several groups. Motian played an important role in freeing jazz drummers from strict time-keeping duties. Motian was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. After playing guitar in his childhood, Motian began playing the drums at age 12, eventually touring New England in a swing band. During the Korean War he joined the Navy. Motian became a professional musician in 1954, and briefly played with pianist Thelonious Monk. He became well known as the drummer in pianist Bill Evans's trio (1959–64), initially alongside bassist Scott LaFaro and later with Chuck Israels. Subsequently, he played with pianists Paul Bley (1963-64) and Keith Jarrett (1967–76).

Music

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