We lost another legendary drummer with the passing of Paul Motian this past November. Paul was a beautiful musician, and his sensitive and musical drumming innovations cannot be overlooked. I first heard Paul on record with the great Bill Evans, and his innovative use of brushes, space, groove, and colors was a big influence.
A very special recording to study and enjoy is Sunday At The Village Vanguard with The Bill Evans trio. The song “Gloria’s Step” is a favorite. It was written by bassist Scott La Faro and has a very unusual song form. It is A, A, B, but the A section is five bars long, and the B section ten! The rhythms of the melody and changes just make this flow, and Paul’s beautiful approach is so magical. This group is a great reference for any drummer interested in trio playing. The rhythm sheet is just to be used as a basic guide when listening to the recording, but follow along and try to keep the form. Notice how Paul slips and slides, creating magical textures.