Lost In A Dream

Paul Motian, Chris Potter, Jason Moran

Birth of a great new band, captured live at New York’s celebrated Village Vanguard, with repertoire emphasizing Paul Motian’s wonderful ballad writing. New Motian tunes are juxtaposed with “Bird Song” (from “Tati”) and “Drum Music” and “Abacus” (first heard on Paul’s now legendary album “Le Voyage”). A free exploration of Irving Berlin’s “Be Careful It’s My Heart” completes a programme distinguished by gloriously supple playing from all three participants who are in tune at a high level. Or, as the New York Times noted, reviewing the concerts from which this album was drawn: “The accumulated wisdom within the band was clear.”

Featured Artists Recorded

February 2009, Village Vanguard, New York

Original Release Date


  • 1Mode VI
    (Paul Motian)
  • 2Casino
    (Paul Motian)
  • 3Lost In A Dream
    (Paul Motian)
  • 4Blue Midnight
    (Paul Motian)
  • 5Be Careful It's My Heart
    (Irving Berlin)
  • 6Birdsong
    (Paul Motian)
  • 7Ten
    (Paul Motian)
  • 8Drum Music
    (Paul Motian)
  • 9Abacus
    (Paul Motian)
  • 10Cathedral Song
    (Paul Motian)
Jazzman, Choc du moi
Audio, Jazz-CD des Monats
Consigliato di Musica Jazz
Lost in a Dream feels totally organic. Not only do its 10 tracks flow easily, they also aggregate logically, and the structure of the album reflects the interplay between drummer Motian, pianist Jason Moran and saxophonist Chris Potter. … This is both heart music and thought music. …
A fine, kindly album, Lost in a Dream finds Motian, Moran and Potter in remarkable empathy. Rarely do lyricism and authority blend so gracefully, and with such elegant gravity.
Carlo Wolff, JazzTimes
Featuring mostly Motian original compositions, the band spawns an ever-so-gradual ascension on a per track basis. It’s a relaxed and non-hurried set, which is seemingly perfect for the nighttime jazz venue aesthetic; the lack of a bassist offers clarity and openness. And the drummer’s musicality shines glowingly via his soft brushes, and accenting cymbals in alignment with his bandmates’ probing storylines atop blossoming pulses. … In sum, Lost In A Dream soothes the heart and caresses the soul.
Glenn Astarita, Jazzreview
The trio demonstrates sublime improvising musicianship and flawlessly creative listening at one.
John Fordham, The Guardian
Drummer Paul Motian’s delicate cymbal and muffled snare sustain the fragility of the title and develop the dreamlike sense of tension and loss of his compositions. … The 10 ballads were culled from live performances at New York’s Village Vanguard, and the rapport and imaginative reach of this trio is captivating.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times
Paul Motian leads Chris Potter and Jason Moran through a programme of his deceptively simple but sophisticated compositions to produce music of great depth and beauty. Motian, a supreme colourist whose idiosyncratic drumming is a singularly effective mix of delicacy and astringency, is adept at opening up space and choice for those around him. Moran, a pianist not averse to tartness, fits the emotional climate of this music like a glove, gelling wonderfully with Motian and, as a soloist, offering the most sensitive of contrasts to Potter’s tenor. When Potter is spare and laconic, he adds a touch of volubility; when Potter is expansive, he is a model of restraint.
Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
Alles klingt frisch und wie aus dem Augenblick geboren. Langsame Tempi überwiegen, die Musik hat Raum zum Atmen. Bisweilen schleicht sich ein Monkscher Schalk in die getragenen Melodien. Nie hat man Chris Potter inniger und konzentrierter spielen gehört. Auch Jason Moran nimmt die Herausforderung an. Sein lakonisches Spiel passt hervorragend zu den versonnenen, sanft schwingenden Klangmalereien Paul Motians. Von Beschaulichkeit ist da jedoch nichts zu spüren: Die Luft vibriert im legendären Keller an der Seventh Avenue South im Greenwich Village.
Manfred Papst, Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag
Paul Motian ist eine Instanz auf seinem Instrument, eine stille, schmeichelnde, nie aufdringliche, ganz eigene Texturen tupfende. … Dies ist ein neues Trio, live aufgenommen in New Yorks legendärem Village Vanguard. Wir hören die Musik eines 78-Jährigen, die von einer milden Subtilität ist, für die man keine Vergleiche finden wird. Mit Saxophonist Chris Potter und Pianist Jason Moran etabliert er im freien Spiel einen neuen Maßstab für Balladeskes. Unglaublich schön.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Leipziger Volkszeitung
Die Stücke … sind meist nur skizzierte Balladen. Sie erhalten ihre Konturen durch das freie Zusammenspiel der Musiker, die eher miteinander atmen, als dass sie miteinander spielen. Frisch und zart klingt das Tenorsaxophon, äußerst beflügelt der Pianist, dessen unabhängig geführte linke Hand den Bass nicht vermissen lässt. Die fast schon abstrakten Becken-Striche und Tonmalereien auf den Trommeln geben dem Ganzen mehr Impulse und ordnende Form, als man im ersten Moment vermuten würde. Schlicht ein Meisterwerk.
Norbert Dömling, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Die zehn Stücke, bis auf eines alles Motian-Kompositionen, sind die Glanzlichter des einwöchigen Auftritts im legendären New Yorker Jazzklub Village Vanguard. Sie sind ruhig, oft das Balladeske streifend. In allen demonstriert Paul Motian mit reduzierten perkussiven, filigranen rhythmischen Interventionen die hohe Kunst des intelligenten Konzertierens.
Alexander Kluy, Rheinischer Merkur
Paul Motian convened this trio for a special project at New York’s Village Vanguard in February 2009. From a week of concert recordings, Motian and producer Manfred Eicher subsequently selected the material presented on “Lost In A Dream”. The album puts an emphasis on balladry, uses ballads as vehicles for profound soloing and group playing. In these touching performances of Paul’s songs, increasingly open to improvisational intervention, we get to learn more of the specific capacities of the featured musicians – and of the potential of this combination of players.

Chris Potter and Paul Motian have plenty of history together. Potter was a charter member of the drummer’s Electric Bebop Band when barely out of his teens, has continued to work with him in the Trio 2000, and been strongly influenced by Paul’s approach to music making. As the saxophonist told journalist Bill Milkowski, “Motian has really had a big effect on the way that I think about music: He approaches things from such an anti-analytical way. He relies on his aesthetic sensibility and his instinct. It takes a lot of courage to do that.”

The present project is a characteristic leap of faith. Although the New York Times, reviewing the concerts, would write that “the playing of Mr Moran had a strong pull in the music, attesting to some deep compatibility with Mr Motian,“ the drummer and pianist had worked together only once previously, in the context of a gig with violinist Jenny Scheinman in 2006. Motian noted Moran’s particular idiosyncrasies – not least that strong, independent left hand – and waited for the right context to deploy them.

Moran and Potter, meanwhile, have been collaborators in a number of contexts: both have worked with Dave Holland, for instance, and both are currently member of his Overtone Quartet.

There is a cragginess in Jason Moran’s playing perhaps related to inspirational roots in Thelonious Monk – an attribute that Motian, who played briefly with Monk in the 1950s is likely to value. Motian himself has certainly retained a Monkish sense of stubborn independence and he remains the most unpredictable of drummers. In the playing of both Motian and Moran there is flintiness and suppleness in juxtaposition. These qualities also help to set up unique frameworks in which Chris Potter’s saxophones can find expression. “Lost In A Dream” is amongst Potter’s strongest recorded performances. He plays Motian’s melodies with great emotional conviction.

Here, new Motian tunes are heard alongside older pieces – “Birdsong” (from “Tati”) and “Drum Music” and “Abacus” (first heard on Paul’s now legendary album “Le Voyage”). A free exploration of Irving Berlin’s “Be Careful It’s My Heart” completes a programme distinguished by graceful playing from all three participants who are in tune at a high level. There is a lot of space in the music, and the players take full creative advantage of it.
In the flowing ballads of “Lost In A Dream”, Motian is as much a sound painter as a keeper of pulses, excelling in the free ballad genre that he helped to invent, but also supremely well-equipped to address the swirling free exchanges of “Ten”, “Drum Music” and “Abacus”.

“Lost In A Dream” marks a second ECM appearance for Jason Moran, who made his label debut last year on Charles Lloyd’s widely-celebrated “Rabo De Nube”. Chris Potter’s previous ECM credits include five albums with Dave Holland, and three with Steve Swallow on XtraWatt.

Amongst the very first artists to appear on ECM, with Paul Bley’s trio and then with Keith Jarrett’s ‘American Quartet’, Paul Motian’s career as a leader was begun at the label. “Conception Vessel” was soon followed by other important musical statements including “Tribute”, “Dance”, “Le Voyage”, “Psalm” and “It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago”. His 21st century output for ECM includes two albums with his trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, as well as “Garden of Eden” with the Paul Motian Band. He can also be heard on Enrico Rava’s “Tati” and “New York Days” and discs with Marilyn Crispell and Anat Fort.

“Lost In A Dream” is issued in time for a week of Motian trio concerts at New York’s Village Vanguard from March 16-21.