★★★★☆ – Downbeat (US): “The core essence of this heartfelt homage: Lead and follow at the same time, share the space and let the music carry you — a Motian-like mantra if there ever was one. The music rains melodic lines, scribbles and skronks; it surrounds the listener with a rumbling, shimmering atmosphere generated by the fallout of Bro’s all-encompassing guitar effects and the collective thunder of the basses and drums. Moments of reflective calm marked by clearly defined melodies, harmonies and beats come into play as well, reminding us of Motian’s gentler side. “

★★★★★ – Marlbank (IR): “In dreams – if you dream music rather than pictorial imagery and we often do – the soundtrack which is always an abstraction and mysterious is something ideally like Once Around the Room. Collectively a septet – all the players are leaders of an illustrious nature 5 flying in to Copenhagen from all over – Paris, London, New York, Switzerland and Berlin – for the recording led by the powerhouse saxophonist Joe Lovano here ostensibly at high avant-garde altitude and by the New Cool School Danish guitar master, Jakob Bro.”

El Pais (ES) – Yahvé M. de la Cavada: “Everything is played with mastery and respect. The repertoire is round and the music brilliant. Also, it contains the best Lovano we’ve heard on a record in recent times, and that’s no small thing.”

★★★★ (Editor’s Choice) – Jazzwise (UK): “Much more than a tribute, Once Around The Room captures Motian’s spirit and walks with it to a performance that has a compelling sense of vibrant celebration as well as solemn recognition of greatness.”

★★★★☆ (Jazz Album of the Week) – The Times (UK): “A tribute to an extraordinary musician calls for an extraordinary line-up, and that is what Jakob Bro and Joe Lovano have given us in their first album as co-leaders. When they play in unison, what could have been confused and cacophonous instead becomes a warm bath of sound.”

★★★★☆ – Financial Times (UK): “The late American drummer Paul Motian’s balance of freedom and form underscored an elliptic pulse with a strong sense of purpose and time. Jakob Bro and Joe Lovano’s compelling tribute captures that floaty urgency by using a double rhythm section bolstered by an additional bass guitar. The fluid rhythms, sensitive interplay and misty textures remain, but a sharper attack and greater urgency offer something new.”

★★★★☆ – All About Jazz: “Acolytes all of the late Paul Motian, Bro and Lovano lead Once Around A Room through a meditative investigation of the collective soul. The common voice we all speak in if only we’d bother to listen to one another.”

★★★★★ (4,5/5) – JazzTrail (US): “…The co-leaders are absolutely phenomenal here, opting for a stream of modern creative ideas. With restless energy, the saxist hooks up avant-garde and post-bop elements over the rippling currents provided by the basses and the spacious, effect-drenched guitar of his associate. Once Around the Room has to be made a priority, and as an inspired work of rare talents, you’ll want to spin it over and over again.”

★★★★★ (4,5/5) – Stereophile (US): “Although he’s more than able to hold his own in a straight-up blowing session, eminent tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano has a tender, introspective side and a talent for free jazz, both of which are brought into sharp focus here, thanks to a pairing with that supreme textualist on guitar, Jakob Bro. With Manfred Eicher producing, hence ECM’s incomparable sound, Once Around The Room” […] is a tribute fit for a percussive giant”

WRTI Spotlight (US) – Greg Bryant: “Among the many creative artists who honed their skills and confidence on the bandstand with drummer Paul Motian, two leading lights are saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Jakob Bro. On Once Around the Room, they call on [an ensemble] to salute a mentor whose impact is still felt on the scene, more than a decade after his passing. Bro in particular is captivating, never forcing his sound or ideas. As they swirl, his band mates bask in the sound environments he’s able to conjure, as if by magic.”

The Guardian (UK) – John Fordham: “Once Around the Room – A Tribute to Paul Motian (ECM) is a variously raw and delicate balance of collective improvisation, quirky themes and haunting harmonies recorded by an A-list septet including three bassists and two drummers, in celebration of Motian’s legacy as a great percussionist/composer. Co-led by Danish guitarist Jakob Bro and American saxophonist Joe Lovano (both former Motian partners), the tracklist features two Lovano and two Bro originals, and Motian’s own scurrying, spacey Drum Music.”

London Jazz News (UK) – Julian Maynard-Smith: “Joe Lovano and Jakob Bro are natural torchbearers for the spirit of Motian, both having been profoundly touched by working with him. What’s more, Bro can sound remarkably like Frisell in his painterly approach to the electric guitar, often laying down effects-laden textures over which he dabs sparse melodic lines. Both Frisell and Bro were ideal for Motian, whose greatest influence was arguably how he liberated drummers from strict time-keeping duties by offering impressionistic splashes of percussion as an alternative.”

The Quietus (UK) – Peter Margasak: “It’s the best kind of musical salute, one that elevates the honoree while opening up fresh new paths for today.”

Jazz Views (UK) – Nick Lea: “A wonderful homage to Paul Motian this release from Jakob Bro and Joe Lovano scores full marks on every level. Without a shadow of doubt, Paul would have approved.”

UK Vibe (UK) – Mike Gates: “There’s a sensitive nature to the music here, balanced with exploration and improvisation. Musical ideas are crafted, combined and collectively embraced by the ensemble. Interwoven melodies are fully in the moment, with the spirit of Paul Motian flowing freely through the entire session.”

Salt Peanuts (NO): “Bro, like Lovano, composed two pieces for this recording. The touching ballad «Song To An Old Friend», features Lovano as the main soloist who sings the melody. This piece and Bro’s most beautiful, the last, folk-like «Pause», have such hypnotic melodies that linger in the listener’s mind long after this inspiring album has ended. Once Around the Room corresponds magically with Motian’s aesthetic sensibility, and as Bro says: «it felt like he was in the room with us somehow».”

Jazznyt (DK) – Niels Overgaard: “De går ind i det ukendte sammen. Det er øjeblikkets kunst. Her er både den stratosfærisk smukke Song to An Old Friend skrevet af Jakob Bro og den eventyrlige For The Love of Paul skrevet af Joe Lovano, hvor trommeslagerne skaber noget som er af en anden verden. Once Around The Room er en af de mest originale og personlige musikalske hyldester, jeg kan mindes at have hørt.”

★★★★★ (4,5/5) – All About Jazz Italy: “…Ill fascino avventuroso di un’estetica sempre avvincente. […] Nell’aderire a quell’estetica, il progetto non si appiattisce a formulare un’operazione nostalgica o inutilmente rievocativa”

★★★★★ (4,5/5) – Written in Music (NL) / Dick Hovenga: “Meesterlijk hoe deze muzikanten elk klinken en deze muziek is opgenomen. De composities zijn zo avontuurlijk als je jazz maar kunt krijgen. Voor deze groep muzikanten weet je dat je meer dan genoeg ruimte moet houden voor improvisatie omdat dan juist het allerbeste naar voren komt. Eigenlijk is binnen deze band alleen Lovano de enige die soms echte melodielijnen speelt en dan de mooiste die je in jaren van hem hoorde. Bro is wederom zo onvoorspelbaar en intrigerend als altijd.”

★★★★☆ – Le Soir (BE): “De longs voyages à travers des paysages sonores magnifiques, tantôt éthérés tantôt puissants, aux atmosphères rêveuses, inoubliables, aux échappées soudaines, aux explorations incessantes. A écouter inlassablement.”

★★★★☆ – De Standaard (BE): “Één keer barst de muziek los, in ‘Drum music’, het enige stuk van Motian zelf, waarin Bro’s gitaar heerlijk overstuurd klinkt. En toch is dit vooral een rustige plaat. De twee composities van Bro zijn van een aangrijpende schoonheid. Alweer een fantastische ECM-productie.”

Stereoplay (DE) – Klang Tipp: “Diesem sehr gelungenen Album als Team kraftvoll, wuchtig, modern frei und im Flow Zwischen Elegik und Pathos pendelnd vor dem grossen Meister Motian verneigen. So ist “Once Around The Room” mehr geworden als eine reine Erinnerung – es ist eine auch klanglich herausragende Würdigung mit der Kraft der nächsten Generationen.”

Sound & Books (DE): “Unterstützt werden Lovano und Bro von gleich drei Bassisten (Larry Grenadier und Thomas Morgan sowie Anders Christensen) und zwei Schlagzeugern (Joey Baron und Jorge Rossy). Lovano bezeichnet diese Besetzung als “Mini-Orchester” – was vor allem die Ausdruckskraft und Wucht treffend beschreibt, die das Kollektiv entfachen kann. “As Ist Should Be” zum Beispiel flimmert während seiner fünfeinhalb Minuten Spielzeit permanent auf steilem Spannungsbogen; “Sound Creation” ist emotional tief bewegend; “For The Love Of Paul” betont den augenzwinkernden Spielwitz, für den Motian auch stand und Bros “Pause” am Albumende ist in seiner schlichten Purheit eine stille Verneigung vor dem Lebenswerk des Vermissten. Und “Song To An Old Friend” ist sicher eines der berührendsten und schlichtweg schönsten Stücke dieses Jahres.”

Jazzmania/Jazz’halo (FR) – Jean-Pierre Goffin: “L’hommage est apaisé, la musique d’une grande beauté. Seul l’unisson de « Drum Music » nous emporte sur des chemins plus tortueux et électriques avec un Jakob Bro au sommet de son art et Lovano parcourant le grave et l’aigu de son ténor avec une force qui lui est coutumière.”

Jazz Magazine (FR) – Noadya Arnoux: “Cet album ce termine par une composition du guitarist Jakob Bro, ‘Pause’, qui vous arracherait Presque des larmes. Emotion pour Motian. […] A l’ecoute de ces trente-neuf minutes sans une seule seconde de trop, on se dit qu’un groupe est né, et qu’avec Bro, Lovano […] Très grand disque vous dit-on, dédié non seulement à un batteur genial, mais aussi à l’immense leader qu’il aura toujour été.”

Music Whistleblower (FR)Daniel Yvinec: “Paul Motian’ presence is sorely missed but his spirit truly remains. It’s actually quite stunning to realize how influential he still is. This is one of the best tribute record I’ve heard in ages, it s actually much more than this. A joyful and deep celebration of a true original who has blessed the world with a unique approach to drumming, group playing and composing. What Joe Lovano & Jakob Bro bring here, along with three bass players (Grenadier, Morgan, and Christensen), two drummers (Baron and Rossy) is a spirit, a celebration of the moment and a love of sound that were Motian’s signature and obsessions. Bro acts like a stage director, crafting guitar sounds that effortlessly give strong artistic directions to the band. This music is highly collective, everyone is looking in the same direction, at the same time, united.”

Postenre (US) – John Chacona: “The unusual instrumentation creates a Brownian motion in sound that owes as much to late-‘60s Miles Davis as it does to Motian’s groups. On Lovano’s opener, “As It Should Be,” the viscous, tectonic swirl of the basses around a pedal-point E recalls the tangle of Dave Holland and Harvey Brooks on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. So does the way that the drums, initially low in the mix, rise from a simmer to full boil at the climax.”

Glide Magazine (US) – Jim Hynes: “The entire ensemble produces a stunning array of textures and dynamics, from the most utterly graceful to mountainously powerful. In one moment, we are in a folk-like, gracefully restrained vein and in the next a freewheeling, wall-shattering one. Yet, whether solemn or vibrant, it’s about the feel they get evoking Motian’s spirit.”

Big Takeover (US) – Michael Toland: “Ultimately, it’s Lovano and Bro’s familiarity with their former boss’s aesthetic that guides ‘Once Around the Room’, and their confidence in how far and wide it ranged that makes the album a triumph.”


Jakob Bro / Joe Lovano · Once Around the Room
Release Date: November 4, 2022
Buy/stream: ECM.lnk.to/OnceAroundTheRoom
For more information on ECM, please visit: ECMRecords.com

ECM Records: On ‘Once Around The Room’ ECM recording artists and key jazz musicians from several generations unite in a small ensemble to celebrate the musical legacy of drum icon Paul Motian in a big way. Joe Lovano and Jakob Bro lead a party of seven through fiery originals that recall the idioms and idiosyncrasies which Motian brought to light over six influential decades behind the drums. Lovano and Motian had been intimate colleagues for many years with their most notable collaboration being the groundbreaking trio featuring Bill Frisell – the lineup released three albums on ECM. Jakob Bro on the other hand made his ECM debut on Paul’s album ‘Garden of Eden’ (2006). On ‘Once Around The Room’, compositions by Joe and Jakob appear alongside collective improvisation and Motian’s own “Drum Music”, seamlessly tied together and developed by an accomplished musical collective with stalwarts Larry Grenadier, Thomas Morgan and Anders Christensen respectively on bass as well as drummers Joey Baron and Jorge Rossy.

Jakob Bro · Guitar
Joe Lovano · Tenor Saxophone, Tarogato
Larry Grenadier · Double Bass
Thomas Morgan · Double Bass
Anders Christensen · Bass Guitar
Joey Baron · Drums
Jorge Rossy · Drums

Recorded in November 2021 at The Village, Copenhagen.
Produced by Manfred Eicher.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Full Altered Media (US)
Matt Merewitz


Inge De Pauw (EU + Rest of the World)
Stilletto Productions