|To put drummer Paul Motian, guitarist Bill Frisell, and saxophonist Joe Lovano in a room together is to court majesty and genius; even if the three were playing hackneyed standards half-asleep, the results would likely be brilliant. I HAVE THE ROOM ABOVE HER is filled with the kind of technical mastery and scintillating chemistry one would expect from a trio this accomplished and advanced. Frisell's electric guitar spins choral color and spiraling, reverbed embellishments. Lovano's tenor is full-toned, and he plays with tremendous sensitivity and nuance, often holding down the melodic center while Frisell and Motian create rhythmic and harmonic frames.
The delicate imbrication of parts lends these compositions the feel of fragile, shifting houses suspended in air. Motian's drumming is crucial to this aesthetic--light years beyond standard beat-keeping, his approach to time is all suggestion and evocative accent. Aside from the Hammerstein/Kern title track and a sweet, ethereal take on Thelonious Monk's "Dreamland," all the tunes were written by Motian, his rich imagination informed by classic jazz, post-bop, avant-garde, and ambient music alike. The silent partner here is producer Manfred Eicher, whose ear for warm, resonant tones and expansive atmospheres is the perfect match for the inventiveness, lyricism, and exquisite beauty of this session.