Recent Recordings by Area Musicians

Music in MotianThe Carl Michel Group, a southeast Michigan jazz ensemble, has a 2018 Play On Records release of a 2013–14 project titled Music in Motian: The Compositions of Paul Motian. This is a welcome tribute to the great jazz drummer (1931–2011), who played with the likes of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell. His original compositions are not very well known, which this date helps to remedy.

The members of the group — Michel (guitar), Mick Dobday (piano), Dan Kolton (bass) and Alex Trajano (percussion) — work well in a variety of configurations. The first cut, “India”, has a characteristic airy, searching tone with clear ambling bass line, haunting guitar, and cascading natural sounds on piano and drums. On “Mode VI,” guitar and piano take an easy stroll on a peaceful summer morning. “In The Year of the Dragon” offers a swinging full quartet, playfully responding to each other, and “Circle Dance” offers driving energy on the Latin rhythm. “Abacus” is the most abstract statement on the recording and contrasts greatly with the contemplative “Arabesque.”

Only a couple of cuts lack the strength of feeling of most of this strong effort by The Carl Michel Group.