Paul Motian Day

March 25, 1931 – November 22, 2011

Brilliant Corners

Paul Motian’s “Electric Bebop Band” are featured in Brazil performing at the 2003 “Chivas Jazz Festival.

Drummer and composer Paul Motian was born March 25, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Motian grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he played guitar and drums in school.

After serving in the Korean War, Motian got his start as a professional musician playing with Thelonious Monk.

He played in Bill Evans’ trio in the 1960’s and recorded with Paul Bley, Keith Jarret, Carla Bley, Lennie Tristano and others.

Remembered for his role in freeing jazz drummers from strict time-keeping duties, Paul Motian’s most influential years spanned hard bop and free jazz.

He began working as a bandleader during the mid-’70s, forgoing the use of piano in his groups in favor of multiple guitars.

“Brilliant Corners”, composed by Thelonious Monk.


Paul Motian, drum & leader
Jakob Bro, guitar
Steve Cardenas, guitar
Chris Cheek, tenor sax
Anders Christensen, bass
Tony Malaby, sax


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