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Marc Copland / Randy Brecker: Both / And (2006)

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Marc Copland / Randy Brecker: Both / And How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Marc Copland has always had a sense of adventure on his recordings, but Both/And is easily his most rewarding effort to date. For this effort he reunited with trumpeter Randy Brecker (who appeared on two of Copland's earlier CDs) and is joined by bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis, who have been paired on a number of recordings and are always a top-notch rhythm section. The date focuses primarily on Copland's aggressive post bop originals, with Brecker acting as a perfect foil, fueled by the strong, inventive pulse of Howard and Lewis.

The pianist's musical palette offers a rainbow of colors, stimulating the trumpeter into extremely focused playing which continuously avoids predictable paths through the dense, challenging music. Copland's five originals are stunning, highlighted by the inspired modal opener "Through the Window, which sounds somewhat like a descendant of "Milestones, though it explores more expansive musical terrain. Equally impressive are Copland's turbulent "Round the Horn and his loping, somewhat eerie ballad "When the Wind Stops.

Brecker contributed the perky jazz waltz "Over the Hills, which not only conjures an image of a spring walk in the country, but also brings to mind Coltrane's famous modal arrangement of "My Favorite Things. Even the frequently performed standard "I Loves You, Porgy sounds very fresh, due to Copland's choice of chords behind Brecker's strong solo. Lee Morgan's funky "The Sidewinder is revamped with a sassy, somewhat angular arrangement that preserves its original theme, yet allows Copland and Brecker to break new ground with their improvisations.

Track Listing: Through the Window; I Loves You, Porgy; Over the Hills; The Sidewinder; Both/And; Round the Horn; When the Wind Stops; Bookends.

Personnel: Marc Copland: piano; Randy Brecker: trumpet; Ed Howard: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.

Record Label: Nagel Heyer Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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