Dir. Michael Patrick Kelly, US, 2020, 86 mins
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Motian In Motion documents the career of iconic jazz drummer Paul Motian.
Motian In Motion is a documentary film about legendary jazz drummer Paul Motian. Filmmaker Michael Patrick Kelly first met Paul Motian while shooting a short documentary about his neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper West Side called Duke Ellington Boulevard. Intrigued by Mr. Motian's illustrious but at that point somewhat unheralded musical career, Michael immediately suggested that they collaborate on a documentary about Mr. Motian. At that point Michael filmed two sets of Paul's 'Electric Be Bop Band' at the world-famous Birdland jazz club in NYC.
The filming of the Birdland show began what has become a unique and unprecedented look into Paul's world from recording sessions and live gigs, to jogging with Paul in New York's Central Park. Motian In Motion unfolds via taxicab and subway rides allowing Michael to capture rare footage of Paul playing at the world renowned Village Vanguard and other venues. The film centers around cab rides and a master-class that Paul gave at The Julliard School. Allowing the film to illuminate the genius that was Paul Motian. in 2010 and Paul was able to see the beginning of the editing process. Shortly thereafter Paul was diagnosed myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone-marrow disorder. This tragic and terrible news did not slow Paul down and he continued to record and play live gigs up to 8 weeks before he passed in November of 2011.
After Paul's passing, Kelly found it hard to look at the material until mid 2015 when he began to review the rough-cut and all the material. Astounded by what he saw Michael reached out to Paul's long time collaborators Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano who were eager to be re-interviewed and to help in any way to bring the story of Paul Motian and his music to a wider audience