484

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

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Copland: New York Trio Recordings Vol. 1: Modinha 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.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Pirouet Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Euro Swing Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Euro Swing Vol. 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Matt Savage: Piano Voyages" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Nomade Orquestra" CD/LP/Track Review Nomade Orquestra
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!