One of the great bands of modern jazz Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano have been recording together since 1981. Ever since, and despite skyrocketing careers, the three musicians have always set aside time to continue their trio collaboration. Paul Motian's last two albums on ECM have been widely lauded by press and fans alike. 2005's I Have The Room Above Her was Motian, Frisell, Lovano's last outing, and Time and Time Again has been eagerly-awaited since. The new record features compositions by Motian and Lovano, plus a tune fromThelonious Monk and the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic This Nearly Was Mine from South Pacific.
You could call the austere, resonating sounds laid down by drummer Paul Motian, guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe Lovano chamber jazz. But while that would speak to the refinement of this long-standing trio, it would miss the free, open-ended nature of their collaboration. You get the feeling if they weren't in the business of making a recording, their three-way conversations would keep going and going. Dominated by Motian compositions, this sequel to their fine 2004 album, I Have the Room Above Her, is frequently centered by Lovano's artfully restrained tenor, buoyed by Frisell's trademark roots-inflected chordings and prodded by Motian's ever-shifting patterns. But the artists exchange those roles at will, resulting in melodies that can come at you from any angle and textures that constantly renew themselves. A diaphonous reading of Thelonious Monk's "Light Blue" and a plummy reading of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine" (from South Pacific) raise the melodic ante while maintaining the overall feeling of the album. --Lloyd Sachs
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