Marc Copland/John Abercrombie/Kenny Wheeler: Brand New (2004)
Pianist Marc Copland, guitarist John Abercrombie, and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler need no introduction. Each is a truly original improviser with an individual voice, and all three are established leaders in their own right. They have collaborated through the years in various formations, most recently as a trio on That's for Sure, recorded by the same Dutch label, Challenge, four years ago.
The aptly titled Brand New is a remarkable masterpiece from great musicians who always opt for the suggestive, leaving much to intuition, preferring implication over the straightforward and the obvious, the subtle to the more explicit and accessible. Their playing manages to sound poignant and fragile, sometimes even airy, but at the same time very rich and full of nuance and detail. They perform a well-balanced selection of seven original compositions, a rare rendition of Nat Adderly's "Jive Samba," and the standard "Taking A Chance On Love," all beautifully recorded in a small church in Tilburg, enhancing the unique atmosphere of this recording.
The opening track, Abercrombie's "Monk Dream," demonstrates the trio's unique attitude. The guitarist begins by drawing the gentle, cyclical melody, accompanied by Copland's minimalist phrases; then Wheeler's flugelhorn joins in and emphasizes the theme through brief solos, opening the door for Copland's rich articulation, till all three blend together to play the theme. They choose to strip the funkiness from "Jive Samba" and present it as a slow, bluesy tune. Abercrombie's melancholic "Brand New" is introduced by a poetic solo from Copland, and only later does Abercrombie add his subtle lines; in the same vein, Abercrombie is the main soloist on Copland's lyrical "Odyssey." The beautiful "Taking A Chance On Love" gets a sober, melancholic take that stresses its nuances.
Copland, who initiated the trio, writes in the liner notes that he wanted to reach "for the other place"...
where real music happens,
of fragile beauty,
of knowledge of mastery,
delight of youth,
wisdom of age,
a place of
daring and patience.
It seems as if he found that place.
Track Listing: Monk Spring (John Abercrombie); Lights Out (Marc Copland); Jive Samba (Nat Adderly); Reach For That Other (Kenny Wheeler); Take Four (Abercrombie); Brand New (Abercrombie); Odyssey (Copland); Watching Simona (Wheeler); Taking A Chance On Love (Vernon Duke, La Touche/Fetter)
Personnel: Marc Copland- piano; John Abercrombie- guitar; Kenny Wheeler- trumpet, flugelhorn