Paul Motian Passes Away at Age 80

November 23, 2011 / No Comments

By BEN RATLIFF, New York Times

Paul Motian, a drummer, bandleader, composer and one of the most influential jazz musicians of the last 50 years, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 80 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone-marrow disorder, said his niece, Cindy McGuirl.

Mr. Motian was a link to groups of the past that informed what jazz sounds like today. He had been in the pianist Bill Evans’s great trio of the late 1950s and early 1960s and in Keith Jarrett’s so-called American quartet during the 1970s. But it was in the second half of his life that Mr. Motian found himself as a composer and bandleader, with work that could be counterintuitive or straightforward, runic or crowd-pleasing.

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