Recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and the American Composers Forum, Gary Motley has been featured in Downbeat Magazine and on Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland. His recording credits range from Russell Malone’s Black Butterfly to his most recent recording, Departure. He has performed with Benny Golson, Eddie Daniels, John Clayton, Kenny Barron, Dave Brubeck and, most recently, Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Belgrave. Departure represents the evolution of both an artist and an art form. The jazz pianist showcases a compositional point of view that had yet to be recorded in his previous works. “I seek to move from emulating sounds created by listening to and playing jazz music for over 30 years toward cultivating my own modern musical voice.”
Departure has already received much critical acclaim. Influences range from Russell Ferrante and Kenny Baron to Abbey Lincoln and Frankie Beverly. The trio is Gary Motley-piano; Craig Shaw-bass and Terreon Gully-drums with vocalist Alex Lattimore, flautist Randy Hunter, guitarist Dan Baraszu and the Vega String Quartet making guest appearances. A review of Departure is included below.
As I cruised down the highway immersed in my quiet time listening to this advanced offering by composer, pianist and educator Gary Motley, it was no surprise that I was witness to a departure from the mundane. From the line, this project fittingly takes off with a fast-paced Fits And Starts, and keeps pace into Someday Sunday. Suffice it to say it continues with the title track and moves easily through the balance of the eight tunes that comprise this work.
I was half way through a most engaging escape when the voice of Alex Lattimore snapped me back to reality and my internal conversation rebooted. Not just listening to words, I found myself interacting with the lyrics of life. Arranging sound and rhythm like light and shadows of film noir, this consummate accompanist enhances the poignancy and sensitivity of Caught and Stay With Me that touches the heart of any relationship mired in the pursuit and promise of love.
With a project like this, one can only surmise that only schedules were the biggest obstacle in getting into the studio. Enlisting bassist Craig Shaw and drummer Terreon Gully, two fellow original members of The Swing Association, it is never more evident that Gary knew their magic had not been lost over time. One clearly hears the comfort of camaraderie in their performance, each playing off and with the other. Mix in the additional ingredients of lyricist/vocalist Veronica Motley, flautist Randy Hunter, and guitarist Dan Baraszu with the strings of the Vega Quartet and you have a perfect blend of talent.
What I discovered with this recording is there is no track order that would otherwise diminish the experience. In the days of wax they used to say, “drop the needle and let it play” which meant there was no need to skip over tracks. In Mr. Motley’s case, it is a departure, in that any order is just as delightful. Listen as you desire and I guarantee, you will play and recommend this work of art to friends for years to come.
August 28, 2014
To learn more about Gary Motley, visit http://garymotleymusic.com
ONE SHOW ONLY at 7:00pm Admission: $20.