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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland: Some More Love Songs

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Pianist Marc Copland--who, oddly, began his jazz career as a saxophonist--took an artistic leap forward with his three New York Trio recordings on Pirouet Records. Employing a rotating crew of bassists with Gary Peacock, Drew Gress, and drummers Paul Motian and Bill Stewart, the pianist rose to a higher profile via his nearly unsurpassed musical excellence. The pianist interpreted standards (and some not-so-standards), along with his own top-flight original compositions, in conjunction with an astute marketing choice of releasing, over the course of three years, this triptych of similarly handsomely packaged outings, much in the fashion of Brad Mehldau's five ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland: Some More Love Songs

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Seven years and a handful of albums under his own name separate pianist Marc Copland's Some Love Songs (Pirouet, 2005) and this winning sequel session. Copland reconvened the same trio from the original date--with ever-busy bassist Drew Gress and on-the-rise drummer Jochen Rueckert--and followed a similar programming formula, opening with a Joni Mitchell tune, closing with a Victor Young classic, giving a nod to Richard Rodgers along the way and hitting a trio of other songs that fit the thematic bill. While love songs are the order of the day, this isn't a sedate, run-of the-mill run-through ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland David Liebman Duo: Impressions

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There is no telling what an imaginative musician such as saxophonist Dave Liebman might do if he were given the kind of room to maneuver--to let his soul soar free--as pianist Marc Copland affords him on Impressions. It is as if the pianist gifted the saxophonist with a very large and empty canvas for Liebman to paint a musical landscape. Liebman needs no further invitation to wander off into the ocean of undiscovered sound. The saxophonist assumes the persona of a blithe spirit as he takes off on his musical odyssey. The ineffable spirit of John Coltrane appears to fill ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland / John Abercrombie: Speak to Me

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Pianist Marc Copland and guitarist John Abercrombie played together for the first time in the 1970s, in drummer Chico Hamilton's group. This was when Copland was playing saxophone, before his seemingly unlikely but very successful switch to piano. Nearly forty years later, the two artists still find opportunities for musical hook-ups, contributing to extraordinary recordings like Copland's Another Place (2008) and Contact's Five on One (2010)--quartet and quintet offerings, respectively, and both for Germany's Pirouet Records. With Speak to Me, the pair explores the more intimate duo setting.In the hands of these two top level veterans, on their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland / John Abercrombie: Speak to Me

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Plenty of artists explore that most naked of musical couplings, the duo, but few have mined its intimate potential the way pianist Marc Copland has. Since 2003, the light-of-touch, impressionistically lithe pianist has put out no less than six duo records amongst the more than 15 albums he's released on half a dozen labels--though since 2007, with the exception of a couple reissues, he's remained steadfastly aligned with Germany's increasingly prestigious Pirouet label. Speak to Me isn't Marc Copland's first recording with guitarist John Abercrombie; that dates back to Second Look (Savoy, 1996). Copland regrouped that quartet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland: Crosstalk

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Pianist Marc Copland is widely admired for his harmonically astute writing, imaginative interpretations of standards, and sensitivity as a sophisticated soloist. The aesthetic foundation of Copland's expressionistic style can be traced to the poetic lyricism of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and though the same could be said of many contemporary pianists, Copland's singular approach to the tradition sets him apart from his peers. The German Pirouet label has been copiously documenting Copland's oeuvre since 2005; his burgeoning discography boasts numerous collaborations with mainstream luminaries like John Abercrombie, David Liebman, and Gary Peacock. The quartet featured on Crosstalk ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland: Crosstalk

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Rather than form a longstanding band that can soak up his musical vision over a period of years, pianist Marc Copland thrives in a universe of rotating players that keeps things fresh and spontaneous. On his three outstanding New York Trio Recordings, Copland switched bassists (Gary Peacock, Drew Gress) and drummers (Paul Motian, Bill Stewart), versatile players who are able to embrace--in their distinct ways--the subtle interplay and remarkably elastic give and take that are a big part of pianist's approach. Copland was also part of the highwire collective Contact--an all-star ensemble, with no star outshining any other--that produced the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland: Crosstalk

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After spending the early part of the 2000s in a recording spree that found him releasing as many as four albums each year on a variety of labels, Marc Copland has, since 2006, parked his piano with Germany's upstart Pirouet label. It's clearly been a fruitful pairing, with Copland releasing a variety of albums, in 2009 along releasing solo (Alone), duo (Insight, with bassist Gary Peacock) and trio (Night Whispers, the final installment of his New York Trio Recordings series). Copland has also renewed friendships with longtime musical partners, bringing back the quartet that released 1996's Second Look (Savoy), for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland Trio: Haunted Heart

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Originally released in 2001, Marc Copland's Haunted Heart deserves re-examination and re-evaluation, as hatOLOGY brings one of the perennially undervalued pianist's most sublime trio recordings back into print. With the original subtitle--And Other Ballads--removed, those familiar with Copland's intimate approach will already know what to expect, especially with a trio that, in the early part of the 21st century, was Copland's most consistent line-up.Copland works less regularly with drummer Jochen Rueckert these days, but this first trio encounter with bassist Drew Gress--their first recorded collaboration being Second Look (Savoy Jazz, 2006), with guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Billy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five On One

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If, indeed, albums are living breathing beings--and this might well be so--then the beating heart of Five on One, by the marvelous Contact ensemble, is “Lost Horizon," a mighty, burbling piece of music that appears to come from a cornucopia of modern sound. It is mysterious, magical and hypnotic, and brings waves of sound that lap incessantly into the inner ear with that warm undertow made memorable by five of the most eminent musicians of this day. Incandescent saxophonist Dave Liebman melds undulating sound with the mellifluous tonal palette of guitarist John Abercrombie. Both these men make their harmonies dance ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five on One

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Five on One features five of the most renowned artists in modern jazz working together as a cooperative ensemble under the name Contact. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Billy Hart transcend the aesthetic limitations of many similar all-star gatherings with their complementary sensibilities, garnered over the years in various configurations.

Although this is the first time all five musicians have worked together, their paths have crossed many times before, most recently on Copland's Another Place (Pirouet, 2008). Abercrombie and Liebman were founding members of the early seventies fusion septet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five On One

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The practice of forming super groups in jazz can be fraught with disaster. Festival promoters often try to draw audiences by lumping musicians together in all-star settings, but a lack of chemistry, familiarity, common ground or interest, often turns these events into yawn-inducing bores. All four of these boundaries, thankfully, don't come into play with Contact--the collaborative quintet responsible for Five On One. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Billy Hart are connected through various channels. Liebman and Abercrombie go back almost forty years--having worked together in Lookout Farm--and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five on One

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The band called Contact is about as all-star an affair as can be found in modern jazz, and it's hard to imagine any serious listener not having a favorite among the players, whether it's saxophonist and renaissance man Dave Liebman, pianist Marc Copland--whose marvelous New York Trio Recordings pushed his profile up closer to where it belongs--ECM Records stalwart/guitarist John Abercrombie, veteran drummer Billy Hart, or ubiquitous super sideman/bassist Drew Gress. Five on One burns brightly, with a highly cohesive chamber ensemble sound, with no star outshining the others.Writing assignments are passed around, starting with Abercrombie's lilting “Sendup." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five on One

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They've played together in various permutations and combinations, but Five on One represents the first time they've joined together as a discrete unit. Reconvening the Second Look (Savoy, 1996) quartet--which comprises four-fifths of Contact-- pianist Marc Copland proved you can go back again with Another Place (Pirouet, 2009). The quartet's bassist, Drew Gress, has also been a longstanding member of Copland's piano trio, last heard on Night Whispers: New York Trio Recordings Vol. 3 (Pirouet, 2009). Its drummer, Billy Hart, teamed with saxophonist Dave Liebman in Quest, a late-'80s group that reunited for a 2005 tour, documented on Redemption: Live ...



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