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Gary Peacock / Marc Copland: Insight

Dan McClenaghan By

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At this point, pianist Marc Copland (born 1948) and bassist Gary Peacock (born 1939) have achieved high priest status in the jazz world. Peacock's quarter-plus century run in Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio is legendary and ongoing, aside from his numerous other outings as a sideman, and a handful of sets in the leader's seat. Copland is a musician (early on, a saxophonist) who didn't sit down at the piano with serious intent until he was an adult. He has become one of the instrument's finest practitioners of delicate, studied lyricism and gorgeous and compelling abstraction. He lifted his profile considerably with his stellar New York Trio Recordings on Pirouet Records—Modinha (2007); Voices (2008); and Night Whispers (2009).

This duo outing opens with "All Blues," from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia Records, 1959), a reprise from Copland's near-perfect trio set Voices, on which Peacock played, with Paul Motian sitting in on drums. Minus the timekeeper, the tune is looser, more fluid, rendered with an effortless fervor. As on the entire set, there is a deeply exploratory and mystical atmosphere to the music.

The brooding Peacock/Copland-penned "The Wanderer" puts Copland's supple and gorgeous control of touch on display. "Blue and Green," a second addition from Kind of Blue, recalls pianist Bill Evans—who played on the original, and who is thought to have, rather than Davis, written the tune—at his most introspective.

Throughout, Peacock's bass is by turns powerful, deft, gentle and supremely assured as he slips in and out of the melodic lead. On "Rush Hour," a Peacock/Copland original, he plucks with a controlled and frenetic momentum.

The set features six Peacock/Copland compositions, one individual writing credit each for the pianist and bassist, along with a the two Davis songs, and Dave Brubeck's beautiful and much-covered "In Your Own Sweet Way." They close out with the standard "Sweet and Lovely," covered often by Thelonious Monk. Peacock gives the extroverted melody a joyous bounce for a bright and lovely closing to a masterful and marvelous duo outing.

Track Listing: All Blues; The Wanderer; Blue in Green; Rush Hour; River's Run; Matterhorn; The Pond; Goes Out Comes In; Late Night; Cavatina; In Your Own Sweet Way; Benediction; Sweet and Lovely.

Personnel: Gary Peacock: bass; Marc Copland: piano.

Title: Insight | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

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