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Holiday for Strings

Paul Motian and The EBBB

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Album Review

Drummer Paul Motian and his Electric Bebop Band surge forward with this 2002 release, featuring the lineup witnessed on the previous EBBB release, Europe. And while the title might allude to a program consisting of soft string arrangements, the sextet provides its indelible touch of class to a series of generally moving works — regardless of intensity. Motian's brilliant timekeeping represents the heart of matters, whether he comps via deft brushwork or uses his cymbals as an artist would stroke a canvas. Many of these pieces feature oscillating rhythms and ethereal interludes, yet much of the excitement entails guitarists Steve Cardenas and Ben Monder's often stirring, dark-toned jazz voicings. The group is uncannily tight, although it perpetuates a loose feel during spirited swing vamps on pieces such as "Look to the Black Wall" and others. Motian's rumbling polyrhythmic solo on "Endgame" serves as the bridge amid saxophonists Pietro Tonolo and Chris Cheek's wistful lines and dreamy soundscapes, while Steve Cardenas' composition "Roundup" offers a taste of Ornette Coleman-style harmolodics. This recording clocks in at 43 minutes, even though quality typically prevails over quantity in most cases, which is a notion that is undeniably evident here. Passionately recommended.

Holiday for Strings, Paul Motian and The EBBB
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