Marc Copland/John Abercrombie/Kenny Wheeler: That's for Sure (2002)
The Netherlands-based Challenge label has brought together three masters of the art of harmonious jazz. While overall the album leans toward the avant-garde side of the genre, these e three protagonists are wise enough to make their music sufficiently accessible so that the regular run of the mill jazz fan, as well as those more advanced, can get equal pleasure from it. Kenny Wheeler's "Neba" for example, is a lovely ballad where the trumpet plays slightly off center adding a little more bite to the ballad. John Abercrombie's pensive sometimes moody guitar adds a dark hue to those cuts he is prominent on. In some cases, Marc Copland plays a foil to that mood with his sprightly piano playing, a role he assumes on other tracks as well, like the sun breaking if not through the clouds, then through the haze. This contrast in temperament is apparent on the title tune, "That's for Sure". All but one of the items on the play list are originals written by one of the members of the trio. The other is Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean". Throughout, the players create a musical vignette with each tune. Sometimes the depiction is meditative as on "Kind Folk" and there's probably no player around who is able to create a trumpet sound as Wheeler is able to do. Other places it's a bit, but not much more, lively such as on "Soundtrack". The bottom line with this album - - to write this is almost apostasy these days when attractive is considered passe - -this is very pretty music beautifully played by three highly skilled and sensitive musicians. Recommended.
Track Listing: When We Met; That's for Sure; Kind Folk; Soundtrack; Played Straight; Dark Territory; How Deep Is the Ocean; # 114; Neba.
Personnel: Marc Copland - Piano; John Abercrombie - Guitar; Kenny Wheeler - Trumpet/Flugelhorn