Marc Copland: Standardized, Some Love Songs, Time Within Time

Andrew Velez By

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Marc Copland/Bill Carrothers
No Choice

Marc Copland
Some Love Songs

Marc Copland
Time Within Time

Philadelphia-born Marc Copland gave up a burgeoning career in the '70s on the sax (including as a sideman for Chico Hamilton), only to emerge nearly a decade later as a fully evolved and innovative jazz pianist. For over 20 years, in an age when for so many instant gratification isn't quite fast enough, Copland has continued prolifically to produce music of a quality which would seem implicitly to trust there is an audience that does not need or demand pyrotechnics to hold its attention. Comparisons are often odious, but in a general way one might say Copland is in the tradition of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and more recently Brad Mehldau.

On No Choice he's paired with fellow pianist Bill Carrothers for a mix of tunes ranging from Ornette's urbanely pensive "Lonely Woman to Miles' "Blue in Green , as well as their own jaunty "Dim Some . The set opens and closes with takes on the Coleman melody. The first one is bare bones and rather starkly lovely in its solitariness, as if a "Sophisticated Lady had gone some shades darker. By the closing take, their pianos seem designed to echo hauntingly through empty rooms. By contrast, their ride on "Take the 'A' Train makes some previously undiscovered stops that make the gradual emergence of the familiar melody all the more delightful.

Some Love Songs is Copland in trio format and here especially one is reminded of Bill Evans. The comparison is almost inevitable with the inclusion here of an Evans favorite, Alex North's haunting "Spartacus Love Theme . It's not because the two actually sound alike. Rather it's their rare kindred emotional depth and harmonic sophistication. And like Evans, Copland takes as much time as needed to linger as long as necessary to say it all. A tune like Joni Mitchell's "Rainy Night House is perfect for the subtlety of his lyrical approach. No less affecting is "My Foolish Heart (another Evans favorite), as Copland's keyboard sings Victor Young's great romantic tune with wordless eloquence.

On his solo set, Time Within Time, Copland gives four distinct and distinctive impressions of Leonard Bernstein's evocative WWII melody "Some Other Time . The first is in the key of C, then D flat, G and finally C again for the closing. While maintaining the clarity of the melody, each version transports the listener to different places. Interspersed among these renditions are a number of Copland's own compositions. "Pirouette is an impressionistic gem of twirling images and "River Run shines with intricate harmonies that give a fresh, expressive voice to blues.

Again one recalls the great philosopher Mae West, who relished a man "who takes his time . She would have found much to delight her here. Copland does take his time, revisiting tunes he's recorded previously, creating chamber jazz that with each listening continues to satisfy and and refresh.

Tracks and Personnel

No Choice

Tracks: Lonely Woman; You And The Night And The Music; The Needle And The Damage Done; Dim Some; Take The 'A' Train; Blue In Green; Blue In Green; Masqualero; Bemsha Swing; Lonely Woman.

Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano; Marc Copland: piano.

Some Love Songs

Tracks: Rainy Night House; Round She Goes; Time Was; Glad To Be Unhappy; Spartacus Love Theme; Footprints; My Foolish Heart.

Personnel: Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Jochen Ruckert: drums.

Time Within Time

Tracks: Some Other Time; River's Run; Pirouette; Footprints; Some Other Time; Time Was; Round She Goes; Django; Some Other Time; All Blues; You Can't Go Home Again; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Marc Copland: piano.


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