All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

484

Marc Copland: New York Trio Recordings Vol. 1: Modinha

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
The piano trio may be a longstanding jazz tradition, but that doesn't necessarily make it anachronistic. Pianist Marc Copland has been forging an increasingly distinctive identity that straddles the line between modern mainstream and greater abstraction for the past couple of decades. For this sublime recording, Copland recruited bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Bill Stewart—who last worked together with the pianist on Softly... (Savoy Jazz, 1998). The first of three trio dates in the series, each with a different lineup, finds the usually pensive Copland more outgoing than normal, although he has by no means left his introspective tendencies behind.

Three of the eight tracks are free improvisations, but you'd never know it. Peacock has long been connected with the concept of spontaneous composition, rather than free improvisation per se—which may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a difference. His association with Copland goes back nearly twenty years, and they are clearly of like mind when it comes to pulling form from the ether. It may be an abstruse motif, as on the challenging "Slap Happy," or rhythmically focused, as on "Aglasia," where Peacock's dark pedal tone evolves into a two-chord vamp that Stewart latches onto and develops into greater forward motion. But in either case—as well as in the clear swing of "Flat Out"—the three players share a sense of purpose that transcends mere extemporization.

The rest of the written material includes three standards, one contribution from Peacock, and two from Copland. Peacock's "Half a Finger Snap" opens up the disc, based around a brief but compelling idea that Copland uses to shape his entire solo. Peacock's tone is robust but possesses a sharp edge that distinguishes him from fellow bass icons Dave Holland and Charlie Haden. The song may be only four minutes long, but despite the enforced brevity of the solos, everyone's identity is instantly recognizable. Stewart remains one of the most melodic drummers on the scene today; he builds his solo around Peacock's theme, just as clearly as the others.

The trio revisits "Rain," from Copland's At Night (Sunnyside, 1990), a moody and dramatically understated piece where one can hear the evolution of Copland's more oblique harmonic conception. Its ten-minute length shows just how much a spare but by no means simplistic form can inspire extended extrapolation. The shorter "Peach Tree," the hardest-swinging track on the disc, is more assertive, spotlighting Stewart's compositional approach to soloing.

On the three standards Copland, Peacock and Stewart demonstrate an ability to elegantly think outside the box without neglecting what defines each tune. Copland's recorded work has been remarkably consistent despite its prolificacy—and, on the strength of this first volume, one can only hope that the other two won't be far behind.


Track Listing: Half a Finger Snap; Modinha; Flat Out; Rain; Slap Happy; Sweet Peach Tree; Aglasia; Yesterdays; Taking a Chance on Love.

Personnel: Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Title: New York Trio Recordings Vol. 1: Modinha | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Both/And

Both/And

Marc Copland
Through The Window

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Better By Far

Better By Far

Innervoice Jazz
2017

buy
Nightfall

Nightfall

Innervoice Jazz
2017

buy
Zenith

Zenith

Innervoice Jazz
2016

buy
Some More Love Songs

Some More Love Songs

Pirouet Records
2012

buy
Crosstalk

Crosstalk

Pirouet Records
2011

buy
Speak To Me

Speak To Me

Pirouet Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Trinity One" CD/LP/Track Review Trinity One
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 31, 2018