Paul Motian: Conception Vessel (ECM)

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Paul Motian and Keith Jarrett: Conception Vessel
Paul Motian: Conception Vessel (ECM)

Another in the mid-price reissue of early albums on the ECM label, this one from 1973 under drummer Paul Motian's name is an oddity in the ECM catalogue: unlike virtually every other album on the imprint where stable groups or studio-arranged line-ups present a cohesive music, this one has only Motian as the constant.

And it is almost a primer into free jazz as it opens with a quite lovely trio piece (Motian with bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Sam Brown) then moves through increasingly fragmenting material (notably the title track which is a Motian duet with pianist Keith Jarrett) and ending with Inspiration From a Vietnamese Lullaby which has Motian and Haden with flute player Becky Friend and violinist Leroy Jenkins who shot to prominence with the challenging free jazz outfit of the early 70s, the Revolutionary Ensemble.

For many this won't be an easy journey (the two duets with Jarrett find him audibly arm-wrestling with his elusive muse and locating his inner Cecil Taylor) but as baby-steps into the challenges and rewards of a more free style of jazz it is certainly accessible enough for those willing to strap on some courage.

Those who have already made the journey will find most interest in the Jarrett and Jenkins material, and probably consider the rest pretty tame. 

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