Pianist Gary Motley is Atlanta's premiere ambassador for straight-ahead jazz. His knowledge of the genre and his talent as an instrumentalist enable him to recognize both the essence and the full range of musical possibility within the songs he performs. He's a gifted songwriter as well, as evidenced on his gentle December 2000 release, Compassion, which utilizes the trio setting to showcase his original tunes. He's performed with Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and others, and has been a guest on Marian McPartland's NPR program, "Piano Jazz. Of late, he's played frequently at the new jazz venue, the High Note at the Vault, is a regular weekend performer at Churchill Grounds, and recently performed at Spivey Hall and at The W.C. Handy Jazz Festival in Florence, Ala.