Chris Potter (saxophone); Jason Moran (piano); Paul Motian (drums)
Once in a while, a jazz recording seems to announce itself as a "classic" from the first moment. Lost In A Dream is one such album. It documents the birth of a great new project, captured live at New York's celebrated Village Vanguard, with repertoire emphasizing Paul Motian's wonderful ballad writing. New Motian tunes are juxtaposed with older ones, and a free exploration of Irving Berlin's "Be Careful It's My Heart" completes a program distinguished by gloriously supple playing from all three participants who are in tune at a high level. Or, as the New York Times noted, reviewing the concerts from which this album was drawn: "The accumulated wisdom within the band was clear." Master drummer Motian (born 1931) is heard here with two much younger musicians: saxophonist Potter (born 1971, and with whom he shares already a long playing history), and pianist Moran (born 1975, with whom he had worked only once previously, in the context of a gig with violinist Jenny Scheinman in 2006). Motian noted Moran's particular idiosyncrasies and waited for the right context to deploy them, - he was especially taken with Moran's strong and active left hand figures which, in a trio context, could dispense with the necessity for a bassist. There is a cragginess in Jason Moran's piano playing that testifies to deep roots in Thelonious Monk, a quality that Motian - who played with Monk in the 1950s - was bound to identify with. Motian has a Monkish sense of stubborn independence: he remains the most unpredictable of drummers. In the flowing ballads of Lost In A Dream, Motian is as much a sound painter as a time-keeper. There is a lot of space in the music, used brilliantly by all three players. Chris Potter, long recognised as the one of the most outstanding saxophonists of his generation, delivers an extraordinarily inspired performance in the trio, playing with great emotional conviction. Each of the three musicians has a dedicated following. Moran's listenership has been expanded recently through much roadwork with Charles Lloyd's quartet.