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Gary Motley | Departure

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Jazz: Crossover Jazz Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Departure

by Gary Motley

Departure, a trio work by jazz pianist Gary Motley showcases change and timelessness, boldness and sensitivity, and most importantly- vision.
Genre: Jazz: Crossover Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Fits and Starts
4:37 album only
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2. Someday Sunday
4:37 album only
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3. Departure
7:36 $0.99
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4. Time's Up
4:30 album only
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5. Caught
5:53 album only
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6. Hit Me
7:27 $0.99
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7. Stay With Me
5:13 $0.99
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8. Velaro
5:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
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 others. Departure represents the evolution of both an artist and an art form. The jazz pianist showcases a compositional point of view that, until now, had not been 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 Review

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.

Carl Anthony
Notorious Jazz

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Reviews


to write a review

Joseph Coble

Beautiful, Delightful? Definitely! Departure? Yes and No.
When I saw the title of Gary Motley’s new CD, it made me nervous. Departure? A new direction? On the one hand, that could be a great thing. I’ve loved some of Mr. Motley’s recent departures from his usual jazz trio format, particularly those combining the jazz piano and jazz trio with classical music. On the other hand, I really love the trio format, and was hoping he wasn’t going too far from that genre.
With the exception of additional instruments on the two vocal numbers, “Departure” is pure jazz trio. I do see two “Departures” from previous Motley CD’s, though. The first is that while previous CD’s have been mostly or entirely jazz classics written by others, “Departure” is pure Motley—5 cuts by Gary Motley, and the other 3 (including both the vocal numbers) by Veronica and Gary Motley. In this CD, the Motleys show wonderful virtuosity not only with notes, but also with words. They’ve shown that skill before in “Seasonings” and other numbers, but with “Caught” and “Stay With Me” on this CD, they take that virtuosity to a new level. These are two of the most beautiful love songs you’ll ever hear, both musically and poetically. There are many wonderfully-worded phrases and images, and the rich lush voice of Alex Lattimore presents them in a thoroughly beautiful way.
The other “Departure” I noticed was that the six “trio only” pieces are notable for the absence of bass and drum solos, other than very brief (just a few measures) bass and drum solos on “Hit Me” and at the end of a couple pieces. While they don’t have many solo moments, though, it seems to me that the bass and drums have more-than-usually integral parts in the melodies and piano improvisations. I found myself thinking of two of my favorites from very different genres, Bach and Peter, Paul, & Mary, pieces where it’s not just the melody and harmony, but rather a main melody and secondary melodies going on at the same time. It’s baroque jazz music. You find your attention constantly shifting from the piano to the bass to the drums, because there are different delightful things going on in all three places. Craig Shaw really gets a workout on most of the pieces, and the good and bad news is that Terreon Gully shows beautiful subtlety that I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen some incredibly powerful and creative drum solos that really blew me away, and I didn’t find much of that here. Rather than being disappointed, however, I was truly impressed to realize that he can do “subtle” just as well as he does “in-your-face bold,” and his different techniques and sounds really add to the overall effects of the numbers.
Overall, if you love the jazz trio and beautiful love songs, there’s nothing on “Departure” not to love. The musical departure, in my view, is sublety, which as I said previously, I love. You won’t find any wild, “look at me,” improvisational solos here. Since Gary is a pianist, of course most of his compositions feature the piano, and that is really emphasized in “Departure.” The Motleys have written very carefully-crafted complicated pieces, with the musicians all doing parts which would be beautiful by themselves, but which are blended into an incredible Gestalt, where the whole is much more than the sum of its individual parts. All the pieces are like wonderful paintings or photographs, where you see something new every time you look at them. I’ve only listened to the CD 4 or 5 times so far (and heard some of the pieces performed with different players and as solo piano numbers), and every time my attention is drawn to new places and I hear wonderful things that I haven’t heard before. On the two vocal pieces, this complicated and delightful interaction is even more impressive, not only adding the wonderful vocal talents of Alex Lattimore, but also the richness of the Vega String Quartet on “Caught” and the delightful flute of Randy Hunter and incredible guitar of Dan Baraszu on “Stay With Me.” The “signature” incredibly quick trips up and down the keyboard we’ve come to expect from Gary Motley are certainly here, but there are also piano sections with rich slow chords and sections of quarter- and half-notes instead of the “signature” sixteenth- or thirty-secondth-notes we’ve come to expect.
The cuts on “Departure” display a wide variety of emotional content. My favorite number depends on what I want at the moment. If I want to get energized, “Fits and Starts.” If I’m aiming for VERY energized and fired up, “Hit Me.” If I want to mellow out, “Someday Sunday,” or to get even more mellow, “Departure” (If I had to pick one favorite, that would be the one. “Departure” is much too short at 7:36. I could gladly listen for at least 3-4 times that duration!) or “Velaro.” If I want something really playful, “Time’s Up.” And if I want a couple really gorgeous jazz love songs, there are “Caught” and “Stay With Me.”
Is this the best Gary Motley CD ever? I certainly hope not. It may well be the best YET, but with the way this artist keeps growing, I’m betting that his “best ever” is yet to come, and I hope I’m around to hear it. This “Departure” moves only a few steps in the development/maturation of a very talented artist, and does that in a most delightful and wonderful way. As Siskel and Ebert would have said, “I give it two thumbs WAAAAY up!”
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