Paul Motian on “Life Between The Exit Signs” 1967

It’s an odd coincidence that the two most important jazz pianists to emerge during the late 1960s, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, each created what I consider to be their seminal recordings, “Life Between The Exit Signs” and “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs,” within a year of each other, that each recording is of a trio, and that each trio features what are arguably the career-defining performances of their respective drummers, Paul Motian and Roy Haynes, and that these two drummers also happen to be my two personal favorites.

Because I love these two recordings so much, I transcribed about half of the drumming off of each of these albums, all of which is available in this blog.

The current transcription starts with the opening of the song (1st 2 pages), and then picks up again after the bass solo with Paul trading fours with Jarrett, then taking the tune out.

I think what is most striking about Paul’s fours, in addition to their incredible unpredictability and musicality, is the fact that they are almost certainly conceived and executed wholly in the moment, an ideal for jazz improvisation that is nearly impossible to achieve.