The newest addition to ECM’s popular Old and New Masters Series is a box set reprising the four albums made by Peter Erskine’s American-British-Swedish trio with John Taylor and Palle Danielsson between 1992 and 1997: You Never Know, As It Is, Time Being and Juni. If its core concept – a piano led by a drummer – was unorthodox, the group was nonetheless influential, and the recordings provide an excellent environment for appreciating the distinctive writing and playing of John Taylor.
This six-CD set, with recordings from 1972 to 1984, includes the albums Conception Vessel, Tribute, Dance, Le Voyage, Psalm and It Should’ve Happened A Long Time Ago. Paul Motian’s innovative drumming with the great trios of Bill Evans and Paul Bley had already assured him of a place in jazz’s history books, but Motian had not considered life as a bandleader until ECM proposed a recording session under his own name. “Conception Vessel” opened floodgates of creativity. Through these recordings we hear not only the evolution of several outstanding Motian ensembles and the birth of the enduring Motian/Frisell/Lovano trio, but also the growth of confidence of a unique jazz composer. In Paul’s music, memories of Turkish and Armenian melodies he had heard as a child were filtered through a love of jazz.